DOJ: West Haven man faces up to 20 years in prison after guilty plea

A West Haven man faces up to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty last Tuesday to one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin and distribution of heroin, according to the Department of Justice.

John Rodriguez, 37, of West Haven, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty to the count. The investigation stemmed from an ongoing statewide initiative that targets narcotics dealers distributing heroin, fentanyl or opioids that cause serious injury or death to users.

Court documents and statements made in court showed that shortly after midnight on Nov. 7, 2015, Bridgeport police and emergency medical personnel responded to a Bridgeport residence for a 29-year-old man who was found unresponsive by his roommate. The victim was transported to a local hospital by ambulance and was pronounced dead after several attempts to revive him.

A police investigation, which included witness interviews and text message communication analysis, led police to Rodriguez. The investigation showed that Rodriguez supplied heroin to the victim the day before he overdosed, the DOJ said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s autopsy included a post-mortem toxicology report. That report found the victim had traces of marijuana, fentanyl and several anti-depressant drugs in his system at the time of death.

Police arrested Rodriguez on Sept. 22, 2016. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Hartford on March 5. When he is sentenced, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

Though Rodriguez had been previously released on bond, the judge ordered him to be remanded after his guilty plea.