On Monday, the New Haven Police Department seized 11 pounds of marijuana, worth approximately $70,000, in a major narcotics bust one block from the School of Nursing.
The marijuana seizure, and subsequent arrest of two men suspected of possession with intent to sell, marked the thirdlarge-scale narcotics bust in two months, and a major success for the NHPD Tactical Narcotics Unit. The bust, which comes less than a month after the former head of the Narcotics Unit was released from prison, is a reminder of the turnaround in narcotics enforcement in the Elm City.
Fighting gang and drug activity in New Haven has been a major focus for NHPD Chief Frank Limon, he said in a November interview with the News. He added that he is working with other members of the NHPD to identify and target New Haven’s crime “hot-spots,” which are often areas where drug-dealing is prevalent.
Lt. William White, who retired in Apr. 2007 when he was arrested for taking bribes from bail bondsmen and stealing from the FBI, was released on Dec. 15, the New Haven Register reported. Although his sentence does not end until March, he is serving the remainder of his 38-month at either a halfway house or is under house arrest.
White’s arrest, along with those of two of his detectives, initiated the dissolution of the Tactical Narcotics Unit by Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and then-police Chief Francisco Ortiz. The state police dealt with local narcotics enforcement until the department was reestablished by former Chief James Lewis in Sept. 2008. Beforehe left the NHPD last year, Lewis called the new unit a national model.
Despite its troubled history, the Narcotics Unit has had a recent string of victories.
The most recent narcotics bust began at approximately 1:45 on Monday afternoon when NHPD detectives saw one suspect, 37 year-old Dwane Browne, discard a package at the dead end of Columbus Ave., part of the Church St. South housing complex, NHPD Spokesman Joe Avery said.
Officers later discovered that the package contained 11 pounds of marijuana, Avery said. They then stopped Brown in a Honda Accord, and charged him with intent to sell within 1500 feet of a Public Housing Complex, he added.
Another man, 35 year-old Rohan Davis, the passenger in the Accord, was also arrested and charged with intent to sell. In addition to the marijuana, police seized $641 from the suspects, Avery said.
Monday’s arrests follow that of a New Haven resident last Tuesday, when he was charged with possession of more than one kilogram of marijuana with intent to sell within 1500 feet of a school, after he signed for a package containing what he believed was 50 pounds of marijuana. Employees at a shipping center had discovered the marijuana before it was delivered, and police had removed 40 pounds before delivering it to the man in Beaver Hills and subsequently arresting him.
And in November, NHPD Tactical Narcotics Unit seized one kilogram of powder cocaine and arrested21 suspects in Newhallville as part of a joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Hamden Police Department.
The average prison sentence for Intent to Sell a Controlled Substance within 1500 feet of a School or Public Housing Complex is 833 days in New Haven court according to the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research.