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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Connecticut
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Waterbury Woman Receives Prison Time for Role in Drug Ring

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MICHELLE CRUZ, 38, of Waterbury, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 15 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in a narcotics trafficking ring.

According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from a DEA New Haven Task Force and Waterbury Police Department-led investigation into drug trafficking in and around the city of Waterbury.  The investigation, which included court-authorized wiretaps on multiple phones, physical surveillance, controlled purchases of narcotics, and motor vehicle stops that resulted in the seizure of drugs and cash proceeds, revealed that Jose Duprey, also known as “Red” and “Colorado,” trafficked kilogram-quantities of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl.  Duprey used his place of employment to supply narcotics to other drug distributors, and he used his girlfriend’s business, located on Straits Turnpike in Middlebury, to store narcotics and other items.

In April and May 2022, Cruz was intercepted on a wiretap ordering heroin and fentanyl from Duprey, which she then distributed to her drug customers.

Cruz, Duprey, and 12 other individuals identified during this investigation were arrested on May 25, 2022.  On that date, a search of Duprey’s Waterbury residence and his Middlebury stash location revealed approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of heroin, two kilograms of fentanyl, and more than $107,000 in cash.

On August 9, 2023, Cruz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.  Cruz, who is released on a $50,000 bond and living in New York, is required to report to prison on May 21.

Duprey has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

This investigation has been conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department, with the assistance of DEA offices in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Marshals Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Connecticut State Police; Connecticut Department of Correction; Connecticut State Parole; and the Naugatuck, Ansonia, West Haven, Meriden and East Haven Police Departments.

U.S. Attorney Avery thanked the Waterbury State’s Attorney’s Office for its cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of this matter.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brendan J. Keefe and Nathaniel J. Gentile 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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