HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Neighbors in Hartford were jarred awake by the sound of police entering an apartment on Maple Avenue just before sunrise. Police say inside they found marijuana, crack cocaine, hundreds in cash, three hand guns, and seven sleeping children between the ages of three and fifteen.
Deputy Chief Brian Foley says the target inside the apartment, 25-year-old Joxell Mendez, is a convicted felon.
“He has 13 prior arrests, he is a convicted felon, and the are some violent acts in his past,” said Foley. “With him having three guns which he is not allowed to have, one of which was stolen, I can tell you with some certainty that those guns would have been used to shoot someone down the road.”
Deputy Chief Foley says they went in the early morning because most people, children included, would be sleeping, keeping civilians safe in their bed. While police are glad to get the guns off the street and that no one was hurt, they say not everything is positive.
“Those seven children just had a negative contact with the police department at a young age,” said Foley. “In the early hours of the morning they see officers entering their house, armed, and taking a family member away.”
Police say all seven of those kids are now in DCF custody.
Mendez is charged with operating a drug factory, possession of controlled substance, possession of narcotics, criminal possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, and other crimes. His bond was set at $450,000.