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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Connecticut
For Immediate Release
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-ct
Thursday, April 13, 2023

New Britain Man Sentenced to 9 Years in Federal Prison for Fentanyl Distribution and Firearm Possession Offenses

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that RAFAEL MARTINEZ, 31, of New Britain, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to 108 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, 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 has been detained since August 3, 2022. On January 25, 2023, he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, and possession of a firearm by a felon.

This investigation was 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 was 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 https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

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