Cops: Bridgeport drug dealer sold high to wealthy Darien youth
DARIEN — Marking up the price of heroin seven times the market rate to sell to affluent suburban teens cost three alleged Bridgeport dealers their freedom Wednesday.
A dealer who’d been selling bundles of heroin that normally go for $70 to $80 for up to $600 to Darien and other Fairfield County youths was arrested as the result of a months-long investigation conducted by Bridgeport and Darien police.
Joel Jean, 29, of Bridgeport was believed to have been running a drug ring selling heroin and marijuana out of the Black Rock area of Bridgeport. In particular, Jean was selling heroin to youths in Fairfield County suburbs for an inflated rate of approximately $500-$600 per bundle, according to Bridgeport Chief of Police A.J. Perez. Perez also said Jean was selling at least five bundles at a time. According to police, the teens thought they were getting a better product in Bridgeport.
Through a variety of information-seeking techniques, including the use of undercover officers, Darien police were able to identify Bridgeport as the source of local heroin. According to Sgt. Jeremiah Marron of the Darien Police Department, Jean was responsible for supplying a significant amount of heroin to the Darien area.
“It was overwhelmingly apparent that the subject was heavily involved and regularly dealing heroin not only to users and street level dealers, but up [in Bridgeport] as well,” said Marron. “We are always looking for information with a variety of techniques and the big red flag is the overdoses and, to prevent them, we seek out information and corroborate it.”
The Bridgeport Narcotics Task Force, along with the Darien Police Department Selective Enforcement Unit, then launched an investigation into Jean, who was on parole. As a result of their investigation, police were able to obtain a search and seizure warrant for Jean’s residence. Police also got a search and seizure warrant for Jean’s 2004 Honda Accord where he frequently made deals and had been witnessed using to transport heroin. Police also secured an arrest warrant for Jean for the sale of narcotics.
In Bridgeport on Aug. 3 around 6 p.m., undercover officers lured Jean and his accomplice, Scott Similien, 30, of Bridgeport, under the premise of wanting to purchase drugs. According to the police report, an undercover officer arranged to purchase five bundles of heroin from Jean, who arranged to meet with the officer at the intersection of Ash and Mountain Grove streets. Officers set up surveillance and observed Jean exiting his house and going into a vehicle occupied by Similien. Officers then followed the vehicle to the location set for the drug deal where they apprehended Similien and Jean, who tried to escape the scene. An officer on the scene tackled Jean and the men were able to be arrested under the authority of the warrant.
After arresting the duo, police executed the search and seizure warrant on Jean’s residence, a multi-family home at 127 Hansen Ave. in Bridgeport. During the search, police seized 400 bags of heroin, two bags of marijuana, scales, drug packaging materials, a 12-gage pump-action shotgun, two loaded semi-automatic pistols, assorted ammunition and over $3,000 from narcotics sales.
During the search, one of the residents of the home, Jamel Jacobs, entered the scene. Police found a loaded .45 caliber handgun in Jacobs’ vehicle. Jacobs had a valid permit for the handgun. Jacobs also gave the police the combination to a safe located inside the residence. Police found two pounds of marijuana in the safe and consequently arrested Jacobs as well.
Jacobs was charged with possession of over four ounces of marijuana with the intent to sell and operating a drug factory. He was held in lieu of $50,000.
Similien was charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell and criminal attempt at sale of narcotics. He too was held in lieu of $50,000, pending his arraignment in court.
Jean was charged with criminal attempt at the sale of narcotics, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of narcotics with intent to sell and operating a drug factory. Jean was also charged separately on one count of sale of narcotics. He was issued a bond of $250,000.
According to the Bridgeport police chief, this investigation may still lead to the arrests of others in the area.
“This is ongoing and it’s working because we’re working together,” said Perez. “These were really bad guys and they were preying on kids from Darien and from Fairfield County.”
Perez described Jean as a mid-level dealer and said there was recently another bust in the area of more high-level dealers.
“It just goes to show you how quickly they recover and are back on the street,” said Perez.
However, Perez also noted the significance of the arrests, which he credited to being a result of collaboration with other agencies.
“In this day and age, where the scourge of heroin is killing our kids, it’s a tremendous blow to their organization.”
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim reiterated the value of the bust.
“There’s three guns and I don’t know how much guns and money taken off the streets,” said Ganim. “The city as a whole is safer today than it was a couple days ago. And we’re going to continue to do this.”
According to the Darien sergeant, this arrest may help improve the area’s heroin problem.
“I feel that not only were the arrests necessary, but I’m confident we saved lives last night,” said Marron. “We hope that the message is clear that ‘small-town’ Darien is not invulnerable to the epidemic of opioid addiction. We work extremely close with all of the agencies around us and we will see investigations through — both small and large — to ensure that we can have an impact on the heroin problem in our community.”
Perez also said the heroin problem is dangerous and ongoing, due in part to the drugs being laced with other more dangerous substances. The narcotics seized in last night’s incident will be tested for further substances at state laboratories.