Friday, June 25, 2010

Hartford Man Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison for Role in Drug Ring

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LEEQUAN BENFORD, also known as “Big L,” “L,” “L-B,” and “LT,” 22, of Pliny Street, Hartford, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Peter C. Dorsey in New Haven to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his participation in Hartford-area narcotics trafficking conspiracy. On December 8, 2009, BENFORD pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of, cocaine.

This matter stems from “Operation Solid Gold,” a joint law enforcement investigation headed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force. The year-long investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of cocaine and heroin, and physical surveillance. As a result of the investigation, 55 individuals were charged with various offenses related to the distribution of cocaine and heroin in and around Hartford.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between September and November 2008, BENFORD was intercepted regularly on a telephone used by Victor Esteves, also known “Gadget,” negotiating the purchase of gram and eight-ball (3.5 grams) quantities of cocaine, some of which he sold to others.

Esteves also pleaded guilty to charges related to his participation in this narcotics trafficking conspiracy and, on October 16, 2009, he was sentenced to 72 months of imprisonment.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force, the Statewide Cooperative Crime Control Task Force of the Connecticut State Police and the Hartford Police Department, with assistance from the Statewide Organized Crime Investigative Task Force of the Connecticut State Police, Connecticut State Police, Troop H, and the Connecticut Department of Correction. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian P. Leaming and Geoffrey M. Stone.

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