Milford police help nab big-time drug dealer

Milford police assisted in the capture of a convicted drug dealer from New Jersey who was on the run for more than a year after being mistakenly released from jail, according to police and news reports.

Between October and November, members of law enforcement from the Drug Enforcement Agency, Bridgeport, Stamford and Milford police departments, were investigating a man known as Primo for trafficking narcotics in Milford.

On Nov. 12, the agencies took part in a vehicle stop, where Primo was a passenger: He was later identified as Daryel Rawls, 37, of 1218 Monroe Avenue, Neptune, N.J., Milford police said.

During the motor vehicle stop investigation, Rawls tried to provide law enforcement with a false identity. He is accused of being in possession of crack, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription medication, police said.

A warrant check on Rawls showed him to have a fully extraditable arrest warrant out of New Jersey for narcotics related charges, and being a fugitive from justice.

According to an NJAdvancemedia article published last March, Rawls was on the lam after he was mistakenly released from prison. The article also states that he faced a life sentence after being convicted of leading a narcotics network.

Rawls, then 36, was found guilty of multiple drug charges including being the leader of a narcotics trafficking network that pushed large quantities of heroin and cocaine, the article reports.

The article also states that the trial was held without Rawls being present because Rawls was released from prison on July 13 rather than being kept behind bars on a $500,000 detainer.

Charges against him stemmed from a 2010 investigation called Operation Baked Zito, “an undercover investigation that netted 13 people, several of whom had conversations about managing and organizing the distribution ring, captured on a wiretap,” according to NJAdvancemedia.

Investigators reportedly intercepted thousands of drug-related conversations.

The case took years to get to court because of legal arguments concerning one of the defendants.
The case went to the state Supreme Court and the prosecutor's office was eventually allowed to use conversations against the other co-defendant and then against Rawls, the article states.
“When he was arrested on October 17, 2010, Rawls was found to have more than 20 bricks — the equivalent of 1,000 bags — of heroin and 26 grams of powder cocaine,” the NJAdvertiser reports.
The Ocean County prosecutor's office was working closely with the US Marshal's Service to find and arrest Rawls.

Arrested in Connecticut this week, on Monday, Nov. 12, Rawls was charged with being a  fugitive from justice, being in possession of narcotics with the intent to sell, possession of narcotics, and interfering with arrest.

Rawls was held on a $500,000 bond and was scheduled to appear in court Nov. 13.