Naugatuck man sentenced to 25 years for trafficking heroin and crack in Bridgeport

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A Naugatuck man was sentenced in federal court Friday to 300 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for trafficking heroin and crack cocaine, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

Antonio Small, 30, was arrested on Nov. 6, 2018 for distributing large quantities of crack cocaine, fentanyl and heroin in the Bridgeport area.

In 2017, the FBI’s Bridgeport Safe Streets Task Force and Bridgeport Police Department began investigating individuals who were allegedly distributing narcotics in and around Bridgeport, according to court documents 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, court documents said.

Small, also known as “Tone” and “Bert,” was the leader of an organization that was based on the west side of Bridgeport, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The investigation revealed that Small, along with Louie McDowell, Evan Sheffield, Christian Rodriguez and others, used a Poplar Street residence to store, process and package narcotics. The group would also engage in violence, according to the Bridgeport Police Department.

Police said recorded calls revealed that Small kept a firearm at the residence and allegedly had plans to retaliate against someone he believed had wronged him. On October 31, 2018, a close associate of Small was shot and killed in the vicinity of the Poplar Street residence, according to court documents.  A woman who was close by was also killed during the incident.

In addition, one of Small’s co-conspirators engaged police in a car chase and struck and killed another motorist and injured two pedestrians, according to court documents.

Small’s criminal history includes convictions for drug, firearm, evidence tampering and other offenses. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, he was on state probation while committing the offenses that resulted in his charges.

Small has been detained since his arrest in 2018, officials said. On January 24, 2020, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession of more than one kilogram of heroin and a quantity of crack cocaine.

McDowell, Rodriguez, and Sheffield also pleaded guilty and have been sentenced, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.