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Florida Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking Offense

Leonard C Boyle, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that NELIOBET DeJESUS, 44, of Orlando, Florida, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for trafficking narcotics.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2018, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Narcotics and Bulk Cash Trafficking Task Force began investigating a Hartford area narcotics trafficking operation that involved the use of the U.S. Mail to ship parcels of drugs and drug proceeds.  Investigators determined that Israel Mendoza, also known as “D-Nice,” supplied Michael Copeland, of Bloomfield, with large quantities of cocaine, and that Copeland, at Mendoza’s direction, mailed parcels containing cash to individuals in California.  In September and October, U.S. Postal Inspectors in California intercepted and seized two parcels, each containing approximately $13,000 in cash, that Copeland mailed in Connecticut to addresses in the Fresno area.  Investigators analyzed postal records and identified dozens of additional parcels connected to this drug trafficking network that are suspected to have contained narcotics or drug proceeds.

In February 2019, investigators seized a parcel containing nearly 500 grams of cocaine that had been mailed from California to a Bloomfield residence that was connected to Copeland.

Mendoza worked with others, including DeJesus and Danny Rhodes, in the Hartford area to distribute heroin and cocaine.  During the investigation, after DeJesus had moved to Orlando, Florida, investigators identified a mail parcel that was destined for a residence in Orlando that was linked to DeJesus.  A court authorized search of the parcel revealed approximately 500 grams of cocaine and approximately five grams of fentanyl.

DeJesus was arrested on October 22, 2020.  On June 3, 2021, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine.

Copeland and Rhodes, also of Bloomfield, have pleaded guilty.  On December 8, 2021, Rhodes was sentenced to 87 months of imprisonment, and on December 16, 2021, Copeland was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment.

Mendoza, last residing in Reading, Pennsylvania, is being sought by law enforcement.  U.S. Attorney Boyle stressed that, as to Mendoza, charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter has been investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Narcotics and Bulk Cash Trafficking Task Force, which includes members from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Service – Office of the Inspector General, the Connecticut Army National Guard, and the Hartford, New Britain, Meriden and Town of Groton Police Departments.  The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Connecticut State Police and Hartford Police Department assisted the investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone.

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