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Naugatuck resident sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for cocaine trafficking, immigration violation

NEW HAVEN, CT - Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that Ryan Persad, 42, a citizen of Trinidad last residing on New Street in Naugatuck, was sentenced on January 10 by United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 130 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. On June 19, 2007, Persad pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one count of illegal reentry into the United States.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, beginning in mid-2005, the Drug Enforcement Administration's Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force initiated an investigation into suspected distribution of cocaine in the Bridgeport area by Luis Robles and his associates. The investigation, which employed court-authorized wiretaps, court-authorized audio and video surveillance and several controlled purchases of cocaine, established that the ring primarily operated out of East End Auto, an auto shop owned by Robles located at 1357 Barnum Avenue in Bridgeport. Robles obtained cocaine from a source of supply located in the New York metropolitan area. Typically, the cocaine was transported by automobile to the Bridgeport area to Robles or one of his associates, and then redistributed in and around Bridgeport to other dealers, including Persad.

In April 2006, the DEA HIDTA Task Force members arrested Persad, Robles, and several other individuals involved in this narcotics trafficking ring. In connection with the arrests, Task Force members conducted searches at 11 locations in Bridgeport, Derby and Naugatuck, Connecticut, and seized more than 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, more than 500 grams of crack, one loaded semi-automatic handgun that was found in a closet in Robles' residence, one bulletproof vest, six automobiles, and more than $125,000 in United States currency.

The investigation also revealed that Persad had been deported from the United States on several occasions after receiving a conviction in Connecticut Superior Court for sale of narcotics in 1991. After his arrest in connection with the Robles drug conspiracy, Persad was also charged with illegal reentry into the United States. During the sentencing proceeding on January 10, Judge Underhill imposed on Persad a sentence of 130 months imprisonment on the illegal reentry count, to run concurrently with the 130-month sentence on the drug charge.

On February 2, 2007, Robles pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine. In pleading guilty, Robles also admitted that he attempted to obstruct justice by threatening witnesses involved in this investigation. On May 3, 2007, Judge Underhill sentenced Robles to 188 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release.

The drug case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration's Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. Members of the Ansonia, Bridgeport, Derby, Easton, Greenwich, New Canaan, Newtown, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford and West Haven Police Departments participated in the investigation. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also participated in the unlawful reentry investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys H. Gordon Hall and James Smart.