A man from New London was arraigned in federal court on Tuesday in connection to an alleged cocaine trafficking scheme that ran from Puerto Rico to New London.
Carlos Antonio Crespo-Febus, 40, of New London, and Steven Collazo, 30, of Groton were indicted by a grand jury last week on federal charges that they allegedly received large amounts of cocaine in the mail from Puerto Rico with the intent to distribute the drug across the region and state.
Crespo-Febus, who was convicted of second-degree murder in Puerto Rico in 2001, appeared in court via Zoom on Wednesday afternoon and was arraigned on charges of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. He pleaded not guilty.
According to an affidavit, Crespo-Febus was the head of a “drug trafficking organization” run out of his home at 95 Ledge Road, New London, where he lived with his girlfriend and her children.
Investigators allege that between April and Sept. 20, 2021, he had dozens of packages filled with various amounts of cocaine delivered to addresses in New London, Groton and Waterford.
Crespo-Febus allegedly employed a “runner” to pick up packages that were mailed to “drop locations” and bring them to the “stash house” on Ledge Road, according to the affidavit. His primary runner was Steven Collazo of 171 Branford Ave., Groton, investigators allege.
The packages were mailed to a variety of different names at different addresses in New London, including Dylan Velez Ortiz at 510 Ocean Ave.; Yeiza Delgado at 73 Redden Ave.; Yasmin Pastrana at 111 Boulder Drive; Dyanaira Collazo at 58 West St.; and Devin Robinson at 89 Montauk Ave.
They also were sent to some addresses in Groton, including Collazo’s Branford Avenue home. In more than one delivery, packages of cocaine wrapped in a Puerto Rican newspaper were surrounded by packing peanuts and packets of Favorita vanilla wafer cookies.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Narcotics and Bulk Cash Trafficking Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating a cocaine trafficking operation headed by Crespo-Febus in April 2021, according to court documents. Investigators say they have intercepted and seized more than 12 kilograms of cocaine, which is approximately 26.5 pounds, that were mailed from Puerto Rico to Connecticut and have identified dozens of other suspicious packages that likely had large quantities of cocaine in them.
Collazo has been released on a $100,000 bond and Crespo-Febus is currently in the custody of the court.
If convicted, Crespo-Febus faces the possibility of a life sentence; the minimum sentence he faces is 10 years in prison. He also faces fines up to $10 million.
Crespo-Frebus’ case will be heard by United States District Judge for the District of Connecticut Michael P. Shea. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Jan. 5 in Hartford.