A Meriden man was among 105 people arrested in the Fair Haven section of New Haven today as part of a of drug and firearms trafficking in the city.
Andrew Melillo, 26, was charged with various narcotics offenses related to the trafficking of cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana and oxycodone.
He was arrested following a grand jury indictment handed down earlier this month of 20 suspected drug and arms dealers in and around the New Haven area.
If convicted of the charges, he and the other 19 suspects face a minimum of 10 years in prison and possibly life.
“Due to having incurred prior narcotics trafficking convictions, a number of defendants face increased penalties,” U.S. law enforcement officials said in a press release today.
David B. Fein, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, and Kevin Lane, acting special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England, announced the arrest today as a result of “Operation Bloodline,” a joint law enforcement investigation headed by the DEA New Haven Task Force, targeting narcotics trafficking and gang violence in the Dwight-Kensington and Fair Haven sections of New Haven. The year-long investigation that culminated in today’s arrests included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on 22 telephones, extensive physical surveillance, controlled purchases of narcotics, execution of search warrants and seizures of narcotics and firearms.
Earlier this month, federal grand juries sitting in New Haven returned six indictments charging 101 individuals with various offenses related to the distribution of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana and oxycodone, the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, and the possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes in and around New Haven.
According to statements made in court, in the spring of 2011, the DEA Task Force, in conjunction with the New Haven Police Department and the Hamden Police Department, analyzed crime data in New Haven and identified the Dwight-Kensington neighborhood (known as the “Tre”) and the Fair Haven neighborhood as focal points in the Task Force’s efforts to reduce violent crime and narcotics and firearm trafficking in the city. Investigators also developed information that there was a large presence of street gang members from the Bloods in the Tre and from the Island Brothers in Fair Haven, and that many of the violent acts in those areas stemmed from gang-related drug trafficking.
“I want to acknowledge the brave and dedicated work of the DEA Task Force, and each of the police departments and law enforcement agencies that participated in this substantial investigation and the many arrests today and last week,” said Fein. “This operation speaks to the commitment of federal law enforcement and our state and local partners to reduce gang violence and to bring narcotics and firearms violators to justice. I also want to acknowledge the U.S. Marshals Service for its critical assistance this past week.
“The arrests of these individuals will send a clear message that there is no area that DEA and our law enforcement partners will relinquish to gangs,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Lane. “If you traffic drugs, you will be investigated, arrested and prosecuted. The success of this operation is a direct attribute of the collaborative work effort of the DEA New Haven Task Force, our local law enforcement counterparts and the United States Attorney’s Office.”