Former Easthampton man Joaquin “Chito” Carrillo pleads guilty to drug trafficking
SPRINGFIELD — A second area man involved in a drug ring pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to conspiring to distribute cocaine.
The charge stems from a long-running investigation into cocaine trafficking between Texas and the Easthampton-Northampton area and elsewhere in New England.
Joaquin “Chito” Carrillo, 31, whose last address was listed in court documents as Easthampton, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor. Sentencing is scheduled for June 5. The maximum sentence is 40 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine, according to the court.
Carrillo’s plea comes five days after Pablo “Pete” Drullard, 31, of Hadley and formerly Northampton, pleaded guilty in the federal court to conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.
Drullard is scheduled for sentencing May 13 and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with five years of supervised release, if applicable, and a $10 million fine.
Law enforcement officials in the summer of 2010 began investigating the cocaine trafficking, which involved seven controlled drug purchases by an informant, wire tapping, physical and electronic surveillance as well as the seizure of 10 kilograms of cocaine.
Drullard and Carrillo were part of a drug distribution ring that brought cocaine from Texas to Easthampton in a 1999 green Ford Taurus with a hidden compartment, according to court records. Authorities were tipped off to the trafficking when they received information about a suspicious green Taurus owned by a member of Carrillo’s family.
During a stop in Southwick, police performed a sweep of the vehicle with a drug-sniffing dog. They found the hidden compartment, but it was empty. Two months later, the same car was spotted in Texas and pulled over. About 10 kilograms of cocaine were found in the hidden compartment, according to prosecutors. The driver, who was not named in court papers, was arrested.
After the Texas cocaine seizure, an Easthampton police officer reviewed surveillance footage shot at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., taken a few days prior to the arrest. Drullard, Carrillo’s brother and the person driving the green Taurus were all seen on tape together.
Over the next eight months, police set up more than $13,000 in cocaine purchases from Carrillo by an informant.
They also wiretapped telephone conversations between Carrillo and Drullard in which the two discussed complaints about the quality of the cocaine they were selling, deliveries and prices.
Physical evidence of the crime was also found at Drullard’s Northampton home, according to court records.