The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, in a statement to the press, announced that a New Jersey man had been sentenced to more than 14 years in prison and another five years on federal supervision for multiple heroin trafficking crimes including distribution of more than 30 kilograms of heroin. The convicted drug dealer also faces charges in different states for similar crimes involving opioids purchased on darkweb marketplaces.
David Monseratte Torres, 30, led the Drug Enforcement Administration on a two-year investigation into a large-scale heroin distribution operation in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and in other states. During this operation, the DEA and local police arrested eight additional suspected drug dealers who Torres had regularly interacted with and supplied with dozens of kilograms of heroin. Law enforcement agencies working on the case recorded some instances involving 10 or more kilograms of heroin in a single exchange.
Torres, a resident of New Jersey for the majority of the investigation, supplied heroin to the subjects of a lengthy investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. Wilfredo Gutierrez and his brother Bobby Gutierrez supplied and controlled much of the heroin flow in and around Connecticut’s Fairfield County. Both brothers had a history of drug trafficking crimes as well as crimes under Corrupt Organizations and Racketeering Activity Act (Connecticut’s version of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act a/k/a RICO). In 2011, one of the Gutierrez brothers was sentenced to nine years in prison and still organized and controlled the flow of heroin in Fairfax County. He specifically coordinated deals between Torres and the second Gutierrez brother.
Throughout the course of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s investigation into the Gutierrez brothers that involved the Norwalk Police Department, Connecticut State Police, and Stamford Police Department, investigators learned that the Gutierrez drug trafficking organization received a large amount of heroin and other opioids from Torres. Although Torres remained in the background and had very little interaction with the crime family, he still supplied a significant amount of the drugs the Gutierrez brothers resold to dealers throughout Fairfax County.
With wiretaps, controlled purchases conducted by confidential informants, physical surveillance, and package seizures, federal and state authorities learned that Torres ordered a portion of his drugs from darkweb market vendors. They never managed to identify the primary source of all of his heroin but knew that some of it came from suppliers living out of the states within the scope of the investigation. During the investigation into Torres, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force in Bridgeport gathered hard evidence proving that between late 2016 and early 2017, Torres had distributed more than 10 kilograms of heroin to the Gutierrez brothers. The Gutierrez brothers then redistributed the heroin to their own distribution network. Authorities knew—or suspected, at the very least—that Torres had been distributing to the brothers as early as the start of their own investigation in 2015 but never collected the evidence to successfully defend their belief.
Authorities arrested Torres in May 2016. Two months later, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute one or more kilograms of heroin and the distribution of more than 30 kilograms. The court released Torres on bond but federal authorities continued their investigation into Torres while he was waiting for his sentencing hearing. Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Torres in New York after learning that he had been purchasing U-47700 while out awaiting sentencing. On his person in New York, the Drug Enforcement Administration agents located 100 grams of heroin, 60 grams of U-47700, and almost $9,000 in cash. Although the DEA had criminalized U-47700 in late 2016, officials only pursued charges based on the heroin in his possession.
In a District Court in Bridgeport, U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden sentenced Torres to a combined total of 140 months in prison and another five years on federal supervision. Although he has been sentenced to prison in Connecticut, Torres is in jail awaiting sentencing for distribution of more than 100 grams of heroin in the Southern District of New York. Once sentenced in New York, his Connecticut sentence will begin.