By Bruno Matarazzo Jr. Republican-American
NAUGATUCK — A 30-year-old local man was sentenced in federal court to 25 years behind bars for trafficking heroin and crack cocaine in Bridgeport.
Antonio Small, who also went by the name “Tone” and “Bert,” was the leader of an organization that was based on the west side of Bridgeport that stored, processed and packaged narcotics, and his group was involved in violence, according to federal prosecutors.
Federal officials said intercepted calls revealed that Small kept a firearm at the residence, and that he possessed it while looking to retaliate against someone he believed had wronged him. On Oct. 31, 2018, a close associate of Small was shot and killed in the vicinity of the Poplar Street residence in Bridgeport where Small’s operation was based. A female who was close by was also killed during the incident.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in the summer of 2017, members of the FBI’s Bridgeport Safe Streets Task Force and Bridgeport Police Department began investigating individuals who were distributing narcotics in and around Bridgeport.
The investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of narcotics, physical and video surveillance, and the execution of multiple search and seizure warrants.
The investigation revealed that Antonio Small, Louie McDowell, Christian Rodriguez, Evan Sheffield, Anthony Small and others were distributing large quantities of heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine in the Bridgeport area.
In addition, one of Small’s co-conspirators, while in possession of drugs that he intended to distribute, engaged police in a car chase and struck and killed another motorist and maimed two pedestrians.
Small’s criminal history includes convictions for drug, firearm, evidence tampering, and other offenses, and he was on state probation while engaged in the conduct that resulted in his federal prosecution.
Small has been detained since his arrest on Nov. 6, 2018. On Jan. 24, 2020, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, more than one kilogram of heroin and a quantity of cocaine base known as crack.
McDowell, Rodriguez, Sheffield and Anthony Small also pleaded guilty. McDowell, Rodriguez and Sheffield have been sentenced, and Anthony Small awaits sentencing.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen L. Peck and Patrick J. Doherty through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Program.