WATERBURY — A man who police say is a member of the Latin Kings street gang and a suspected drug dealer was charged Wednesday in connection with a joint federal and local investigation into gun trafficking.
The investigation also revealed possible cooperation between Radames Ortiz, a suspected Latin King, and a member of the Bloods street gang who he said was offering to keep him supplied with illegal weapons.
Ortiz, 21, who is also known as Angel, was arrested last week by city police, who suspect he was intending to deal crack cocaine in the Willow/Plaza neighborhood.
Naugatuck police charged him Wednesday with trafficking a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit after they say he sold a revolver during an exchange recorded on a surveillance camera.
Naugatuck police worked with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as they targeted Ortiz during an operation in May 2012.
Authorities claim Ortiz accompanied another person from the Brooklyn section of Waterbury to the Northwood Apartments on Northridge Drive. Ortiz then drove with the gun buyer to a Subway restaurant in Naugatuck where police say he sold a Nagant brand revolver for $400.
Ortiz threw in a handful of ammo, which didn’t fit the firearm, during the sale, according to his arrest warrant.
Authorities learned Ortiz also offered to provide the buyer with more guns from a variety of sources, including a member of the Bloods street gang who Ortiz said he met while he was imprisoned.
Ortiz was arraigned Wednesday in Waterbury Superior Court. Prosecutor David Gulick said federal authorities were offered the case for prosecution, but declined, which is why there was a delay in arresting Ortiz.
When Ortiz was arrested by Naugatuck police, he was free after having posted $100,000 in bonds following his arrest by city police last week. Authorities say he was carrying crack cocaine on Willow Street and was also wanted for a domestic violence crime.
Judge Thomas Colin set his bond at $250,000 in the gun charges. Ortiz then had an exchange with Colin, a newly appointed judge, after Ortiz shouted, “I love y’all” to his family in the courtroom.
“When you come back, you’re not going to act like that,” Colin told him.
“I tried to talk to you,” Ortiz told him.
“You’re represented by an excellent attorney, speak through him,” Colin told him.
As he was being led into a cell block, Ortiz could be heard yelling “I’ll be back.”
Ortiz has a record of run-ins with police. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit second-degree assault in 2011 in relation to a large brawl behind a housing complex that resulted in a man being shot, while another man was clubbed in the head with a shotgun.
Ortiz served months in prison for his role in the fight. During another incident in 2012, police say he fled the scene of an accident after he crashed a car into a pickup truck. Firefighters were called to rescue him after he became trapped on a steep embankment near South Main Street.
Ortiz is due back in court later this month.