Newington Man Sentenced to More Than 6 Years in Federal Prison for Fentanyl and Firearm Offenses

Fentanyl and opioid crisis in United States of America

Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSEPH DIAZ, 28, of Newington, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to 78 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for fentanyl distribution and firearm possession offenses.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on February 13, 2019, members of the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force were conducting surveillance in an unrelated investigation when they observed Diaz, who one investigator identified as a former Hartford Police Cadet, conducting a drug transaction on Stedman Street in Hartford.  Later that day, investigators stopped a car Diaz was driving and found Diaz in possession of a loaded .380 caliber pistol, approximately 700 bags of heroin/fentanyl, and $1,704 in cash.

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Diaz was placed under arrested and transported to the Hartford Police station, where he gave consent to investigators to search his Newington residence.  After investigators left the interview room, an officer observed through a window that Diaz was typing something on his watch.  The officer opened the door, removed the watch and discovered that it was an Apple-type watch.  Shortly thereafter, investigators who had arrived at Diaz’s residence observed Diaz’s father, Jose Diaz, exit through the rear door of the residence carrying a black plastic bag and then run toward the parking lot area.  Officers approached Jose Diaz, who dropped the plastic bag and a fanny pack.  A search of the bag and fanny pack revealed more than 3,300 bags of fentanyl, approximately 80 grams of unpackaged fentanyl, and drug paraphernalia.

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Jose Diaz consented to a search of his phone.  On the phone screen there were several unopened text messages, including one from Jose Diaz that read “Go now.  Everything.”

A search of Joseph Diaz’s residence revealed an additional quantity of packaged fentanyl, approximately 21 grams of unpackaged fentanyl, a loaded .22 caliber pistol, assorted ammunition, and approximately $2,500 in cash.

On February 17, 2021, Diaz pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Diaz, who is released on a $75,000 bond, is required to report to prison on July 28, 2021.

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Jose Diaz pleaded guilty to a related charge and has been sentenced.

This matter was investigated by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force with the assistance of the Newington Police Department.  The Task Force includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, West Hartford Police Department, New Britain Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

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