Waterbury man found with 11,000 bags of fentanyl gets 9 years in prison

A Waterbury man was sentenced to nine years in prison Wednesday after he used a storage facility to keep firearms and thousands of bags of fentanyl.

A Waterbury man was sentenced to nine years in prison Wednesday after he used a storage facility to keep firearms and thousands of bags of fentanyl.

Viktoria Sundqvist / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

HARTFORD — A Waterbury man has been sentenced to nine years in prison after police found 11,000 bags of fentanyl, 99 grams of heroin and firearms in his storage unit in October 2020, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. 

U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea ordered Lenwood Gatling, 39, of Waterbury, to four years of supervised release after his prison sentence. Gatling pleaded guilty in May to possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and possession of firearms by a felon, U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery said in a news release Wednesday. 

Gatling's charges stem from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration's task force in New Haven into drug trafficking in Milford. Police conducted surveillance on Gatling after receiving a tip from a cooperating source, court documents said. The investigation, which spanned from July to October 2020, revealed Gatling used a storage unit at a facility on Meriden Road in Waterbury to store and distribute narcotics, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. 

Court documents noted that law enforcement observed Gatling frequent the storage facility “on an almost daily basis and often spends several hours a day at the facility." 

On Oct. 14, 2020, authorities searched the storage unit and found about 420 grams of fentanyl packaged in approximately 11,000 bags for individual use, an estimated 99 grams of heroin and about nine grams of cocaine. Police also seized nine firearms — three of which were reported stolen — and $30,000 in cash from the unit, the U.S. Attorney's office said. 

Gatling was previously convicted of multiple felonies, making it illegal for him to possess a firearm or ammunition. He was arrested that same day and has remained in custody, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. 

Liz Hardaway may be reached at liz.hardaway@hearst.com