Channel 3 Eyewitness News photographer Kevin Galliford
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -
Federal officials have arrested dozens of suspects linked to a drug operation they describe as being run by family members, and linked to a known gang.
After a months-long investigation, federal and local law enforcement agencies conducted raids in five locations in Hartford and New Britain and arrested 17 people Thursday.
On Hartford's Zion Street, local and federal SWAT teams along with K-9's were swarming a home attached to the Silver Dollar Restaurant.
"That's crazy, that's really crazy," said Hartford resident Patricia Knight, who awoke to the sound of sirens at 6 a.m. "There's kids around here, so it shouldn't happen like that."
The FBI said two apartments on Zion street and the restaurant were part of a massive drug operation.
"I feel bad for the families that was involved," said Clifford Gould of Hartford. "Their loved ones doing something they're not supposed to do trying to get a better life for themselves, and you get caught up in the streets and the drugs everything going on around you."
The FBI said they started wiretaps for the investigation in December.
The upstairs apartment of the Zion Street location is believed to be the main distribution center for heroin and cocaine and run by a man named Angel Rosa.
His brother, Angel Rosa of New Britain, is named by the FBI as the leader of the operation and a member of Los Solidos. They believe the drugs were distributed to gang members and others around Hartford and New Britain.
According to court documents, authorities arrested multiple people from Hartford and New Britain as well as someone from East Hartford, Wethersfield, Uncasville and Windsor Locks.
The FBI executed search warrants for 19 suspects with 17 of them facing a federal judge Thursday afternoon.
All the suspects are facing charges related to trafficking narcotics.
Iran Negron is listed as an associate of the Rosa brothers by the FBI.
Authorities said Negron's main job was to distribute heroin. He was released on $100,000 bond because of medical issues.
His attorney Frank O'Reilly told Eyewitness News he's never had any problems with the law before.
"Mr Negron maintains his innocence and we look forward to fighting these charges in court thank you very much," O'Reilly said.
The other suspects arrested Thursday are being detained by the federal government until their next hearing next week.
Federal officials told Eyewitness News they're still looking for two more suspects.
The courtroom was packed full of family members on Thursday. They told Eyewitness News they were shocked to hear their loved ones could have been involved in a ring such as this one.
Police also seized a Lexus and two Honda Accords, documents said.
"It's everywhere you go, everywhere you go is bad," said neighbor Patricia Knight. "It's not just Hartford. It's different places. There's a lot of drugs everywhere you go."
Hartford police told Eyewitness News nobody in the neighborhood was ever in any danger during the operation.
Neighbors told Eyewitness News they were glad to see the authorities taking action.
"They really need to get them off the streets," Knight said. "They really do, because there's kids using them and they're dying."
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
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