Family grocery store central to trafficking bust

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Culminating a seven month investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force arrested three men accused of operating a heroin trafficking ring out of one of their businesses on Broad Street.

Since July, the Hartford Task Force had made seven controlled purchases of heroin from Johnny Beltre, 32, of Cromwell, and his two associates, Elvis or “Jorge” De Los Santos, 23, and Domingo De Los Santos, 48, both of Hartford. Beltre is accused of running a heroin trafficking organization out of his business, Beltre Family Grocery, at 955 Broad Street, and outsourcing pickups to either Elvis, at 105 Sherbrooke Avenue, or to Domingo, at 132 Newbury Street. According to the Department of Justice, these controlled purchases involved recorded telephone calls, text messages, and in-person meetings.

On February 22, investigators learned that the three men had been arrested in the Bronx, New York, after exchanging $500,000 for 20 kilograms of heroin. Later that day, the Hartford Task Force made their arrests, confiscating $433,577 in cash from Beltre’s home in Cromwell. At Elvis De Los Santos home, officers seized two bags of raw heroin, cutting agents, a digital scale, and baggies. At Domingo’s home, there were similar seizures, in addition to cocaine, two kilogram presses, a vacuum sealer, and $6,000 in cash.

The men were charged with conspiracy to distribute, intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. If convicted, each defendant faces a minimum of ten years of imprisonment, and a maximum life term.

This DEA-led team is comprised by members of the Bristol, East Hartford, Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, Wethersfield, and Willimantic Police Departments.

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