Dominican Republic citizen sentenced for role in heroin trafficking ring

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A man who is a citizen of the Dominican Republic will spend time in prison for his role trafficking heroin.

On Monday, 49-year-old Modesto Barett-Medina was sentenced to 42 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release.

Officials say on Oct. 21, 2016, a hidden compartment in a vehicle was discovered during a traffic stop in Alabama. Law enforcement obtained court authorization to install tracking devices on the vehicle. Between Oct. 2016 and Jan. 2017, police found that the vehicle traveled to various locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

On Jan. 17, 2017, units located the vehicle in Hartford. Three days later, officials say Onel Arana-Gervacio, who had the vehicle registered under his name, placed two duffel bags into the vehicle and then drove off with Barett-Medina.

Later that night, officers pulled over the vehicle but did not find illegal substances. However, a search of the residence where the vehicle was previously located led to the discovery of more than six kilograms of heroin, 500 grams of cocaine, and other items associated with the sale of drugs. Agents also seized scales, drug distribution materials, and other items.

Inside of the vehicle, officials found $260,000 in cash inside of the hidden compartment.

Barett-Medina has been detained since being arrested on Jan. 20, 2017. On Sept. 8 of that year, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, heroin.

He will face immigration proceedings when he finishes his term.

Arana, who pleaded guilty to similar charges, is awaiting sentencing.