Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSE L. GERENA, 33, of New Haven, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms, pleaded guilty or more of cocaine.
According to court documents and court testimonies, in November 2020, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Drugs and Cash Trafficking Task Force executed a federal search warrant on a suspicious package that had been shipped by the U.S. Mail from New Haven to an address in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The package included $102,450 in cash. The investigation revealed that Gerena was the leader of a large drug trafficking organization and oversaw the receipt of numerous kilogram packages of cocaine shipped from Puerto Rico, the resale of the cocaine to others, and the shipment of narcotics proceeds to Puerto Rico. Gerena was responsible for trafficking more than 100 kilograms of cocaine.
During the investigation, the organization received regular shipments of cocaine at 365 Poplar Street, 206 Exchange Street, and other addresses in New Haven. In August 2021, investigators intercepted two packages, each containing one kilogram of cocaine, that had been sent by the US Mail from Puerto Rico to 365 Poplar Street and 206 Exchange Street. Gerena was arrested on August 10, 2021 after investigators controlled delivered a package containing one kilogram of cocaine to 365 Poplar Street.
Judge Meyer has set the sentencing date for March 20, 2023, at which point Gerena faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Gerena has been detained since his arrest.
This matter is being investigated by the US Postal Inspection Service and Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force Narcotics and Bulk Cash Trafficking with assistance from the New Haven Police Department. The task force includes members of the US Postal Inspection Service, the US Postal Service – Office of the Inspector General, the Connecticut Army National Guard, and the Hartford, New Britain, Meriden, and Town of Groton Police Departments.
This case is being prosecuted by US Assistant Attorney Konstantin Lantsman under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutorial-led and intelligence-led approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. For more information about the OCDETF program, visit https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.