WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – Three Waterbury residents have been arrested for allegedly trafficking fentanyl into Connecticut, according to United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut Vanessa Roberts Avery.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bridgeport High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force identified 57-year-old Ramona Espinosa, 38-year-old Manuel Liriano and 36-year-old Jose Collado of Waterbury as fentanyl pill traffickers, authorities said.
In September 2023, investigators made two controlled purchases of 550 fentanyl pills from Espinosa. On Nov. 29, 2023, authorities made a controlled purchase of 2,000 fentanyl pills from Espinosa and identified her supplier as Collado.
On Dec. 12, 2023, a court-authorized search of Espinosa and Lirano’s shared home resulted in the seizure of 10,000 fentanyl pills. Episonsa was subsequently arrested on a federal criminal complaint, authorities said.
Liriano was arrested on Dec. 15, 2023, and Collado was arrested on Dec. 27, 2023.
A federal grand jury in Hartford returned an indictment charging Espinosa Liran and Collado with conspiring to distribute fentanyl and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. The offense carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years behind bars, officials said.
The indictment also charged Espinosa with one count of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl. Liriano and Collado were charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, and Espinosa received three counts of the charge.
Espinosa pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria E. Garcia in New Haven.
Collado, Liriano and Espinosa were each released on $50,000 bonds.