The U.S. Department of Justice reported on Nov. 3 that Leonard Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Constantino Acosta-Banda, a citizen of Mexico last residing in Chula Vista, California, was sentenced on Nov. 2 by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to 70 months of imprisonment for trafficking heroin and fentanyl.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2019, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force began investigating an organization that was distributing heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine in an around Bridgeport. The investigation, which included court-authorized wiretaps, revealed that the organization had a connection to Mexican drug cartel traffickers, and that members of the organization were eager to receive a steady supply of narcotics from the west coast of the U.S.
In December 2019, members of the organization traveled to a parking lot in San Diego and purchased from their suppliers 1.1 kilograms of fentanyl in exchange for $27,000. After this successful transaction, they arranged to purchase five kilograms of heroin from their suppliers. On February 10, 2020, Acosta-Banda and three other individuals were arrested after they arrived at the same parking lot to conduct the transaction and investigators seized from them a box containing approximately 4.9 kilograms of heroin. A related search of a storage locker in San Diego revealed approximately six kilograms of cocaine.
Acosta-Banda has been detained since his arrest. On March 4, 2021, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl.
Acosta-Banda, who has been deported to Mexico at least 17 times since 2002, faces immigration proceedings when he completes his prison term. In 2017, while driving under the influence, Acosta-Banda was involved in a hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a six-year-old boy.
This matter has been investigated by the DEA’s Bridgeport HIDTA Task Force with the assistance of the DEA San Diego Field Division. The DEA’s Bridgeport HIDTA Task Force includes personnel from the DEA Bridgeport Resident Office, the Connecticut State Police, and the Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, Milford and Danbury Police Departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen L. Peck and Lauren C. Clark through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.