Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DANNY RHODES, also known as “Big D,” 63, of Bloomfield, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to 87 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for trafficking heroin.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2018, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Narcotics and Bulk Cash Trafficking Task Force began investigating a Hartford area narcotics trafficking operation that involved the use of the U.S. Mail to ship parcels of drugs and drug proceeds. Investigators determined that Israel Mendoza, also known as “D-Nice,” supplied Michael Copeland with large quantities of cocaine, and that Copeland, at Mendoza’s direction, mailed parcels containing cash to individuals in California. In September and October, U.S. Postal Inspectors in California intercepted and seized two parcels, each containing approximately $13,000 in cash, that Copeland mailed in Connecticut to addresses in the Fresno area. Investigators analyzed postal records and identified dozens of additional parcels connected to this drug trafficking network that are suspected to have contained narcotics or drug proceeds.
The investigation further revealed that Mendoza worked with others, including Rhodes and Neliobet DeJesus, also known as “Colorado,” in the Hartford area to distribute narcotics. In late 2018 and early 2019, investigators made controlled purchases of heroin, totaling nearly 1.7 kilograms, from Rhodes.
Rhodes’ criminal history includes numerous felony convictions, including a federal firearm conviction that resulted in a 10-year prison sentence.
Rhodes has been detained since his arrest on November 13, 2019. On May 21, 2021, he pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, heroin.
Copeland, of Bloomfield, and DeJesus, now residing in Orlando, Florida, have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Mendoza, last residing in Reading, Pennsylvania, is being sought by law enforcement.
Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle stressed that, as to Mendoza, charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter has been investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Narcotics and Bulk Cash Trafficking Task Force, which includes members from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Service – Office of the Inspector General, the Connecticut Army National Guard, and the Hartford, New Britain, Meriden and Town of Groton Police Departments. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Connecticut State Police and Hartford Police Department assisted the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone.
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