Hartford man pleads guilty to stealing fed's car, possession of fentanyl

Photo of Peter Yankowski
A judge's gavel (Dreamstime/TNS)

A judge's gavel (Dreamstime/TNS)

File photo / TNS

A 21-year-old Hartford man pleaded guilty in federal court in New Haven Tuesday to charges he stole a federal law enforcement agency’s vehicle with ammunition, raid jackets and a bullet-proof vest; before being caught with “distribution quantities” of fentanyl and marijuana.

Jose Nunez-Torres, also known as “J-Money,” pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Connecticut said.

Federal authorities claim that on Jan. 29, 2019, Nunez Torres and a partner, Dominique Perry, stole a Honda Accord from a Newington residence belonging to a federal law enforcement agency.

The car contained loaded magazines for “multiple weapons,” as well as ammunition, handcuffs, a ballistic vest and raid jackets, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

“After stealing the vehicle, Perry drove the Accord to a location in Bloomfield where Nunez-Torres removed the vehicle’s tires and rims,” a press release said. “Nunez-Torres and Perry subsequently sold the tires and rims, and advertised the sale of loaded firearm magazines, ammunition, ballistic vest and other items.”

The car was ultimately recovered, but some of the equipment inside was not.

Nunez-Torres was arrested in March 2019 and was released on bond. State authorities arrested him last November after he was allegedly found sleeping in a stolen car on an off-ramp in Hartford. “A search of the car revealed two stun guns, a black metal collapsible baton, and distribution quantities of fentanyl and marijuana,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.

He has remained in custody since the arrest in November.

Nunez-Torres faces up to 10 years on the theft charge and up to 20 years on the fentanyl charge. He is scheduled be sentenced on Aug. 3.

As part of his plea agreement, Nunez-Torres will plead guilty to state charges of risk of injury to a minor “related to his intending to impair the morals of a minor under the age of 16,” the release said. He will also plead guilty to the thefts to two cars.