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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Connecticut
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 26, 2023

New Britain Man Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl Distribution and Firearm Possession Charges

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, today announced that RAFAEL MARTINEZ, 31, of New Britain, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty yesterday in Hartford federal court to fentanyl distribution and firearm possession offenses.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force identified Martinez as a large-scale distributor of fentanyl. The investigation revealed that Martinez used an apartment on Sargeant Street in Hartford to store and process fentanyl for distribution, and he also distributed the drug from his residence on Hayes Street in New Britain. On August 3, 2022, investigators executed a court-authorized search warrant at Martinez’s New Britain residence and encountered Martinez, who they observed throwing a white powder substance from the living room window. A search of the residence revealed approximately 3,000 wax folds of fentanyl, additional loose quantities of fentanyl and crack cocaine, narcotics paraphernalia, two handguns, ammunition, and $28,777 in cash. Investigators subsequently recovered another approximately 200 grams of fentanyl, as well as items used to process and package narcotics, that Martinez had thrown from the window.

Martinez’s criminal history includes state felony convictions for narcotics offenses. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

Martinez pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, which carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny on April 13.

Martinez has been detained since August 3, 2022.

This investigation is being conducted by the DEA’s Hartford Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Task Force includes personnel from the DEA Hartford Resident Office, the Connecticut State Police, and the Bristol, Hartford, East Hartford, Enfield, Manchester, New Britain, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield, Windsor Locks and Willimantic Police Departments.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone through 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 prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

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