The trial of a Bronx man implicated one of the largest drug busts in the state of CT opened Monday with testimony about how the defendant, Edwin Olivo, allegedly tried to pick up $6 million worth of cocaine at a UPS store in May 2011.
Olivo allegedly arrived at a UPS near Bradley International Airport with a U-Haul truck he had rented in Bronx and signed for a large crate containing 242 pounds of cocaine, according to police reports.
Sandra Suplee, employed in UPS’ northeast security division, testified that Olivo signed for the crate, which had been shipped from an elevator company in Puerto Rico to a machine shop in Plainville.
The records also showed Olivo had signed for similar shipments in April 20111.
He was charged May 18, 2011 with possession of narcotics and accessory to sale of certain illegal drugs.
Olivo’s attorney, Martin Minnella, who has argued in the past that his client was only a messenger and not an actor in the cocaine distribution scheme, said repeatedly that his client never disguised his identity.
He pointed out that Olivo, who has no criminal history, picked up the shipments using his own name and identification. None of the shipments was addressed to Olivo.
While cross-examining Trooper Michael Kudish, who took part in the drug bust, Minnella asked why investigators did not allow Olivo to pick up the shipment and then follow him to “get to the bad guys.”
Kudish said there was a fear of losing Olivo, of the drugs ending up on the street, and of the possibility of a dangerous car chase.
According to an arrest report, police learned of the shipment after UPS personnel contacted the Drug Enforcement Administration to report that a package arriving from San Juan, Puerto Rico, had odd pickup and delivery patterns and billing practices.
The contents of the box, identified by the sender as “elevator parts,” were allegedly being sent to a machine shop in Plainville, according to police. But when the owner of the shop was contacted by UPS, he told them that he was not expecting any parts but had mysteriously been receiving invoices for elevator parts he never ordered for the past few weeks.
Police then searched the crate and found 102 plastic packages of cocaine.
Police said that they intercepted Olivo after UPS workers helped him load the package into his rental U-Haul truck.
State prosecutor Thomas Garcia rested on Monday. Minnella is expected to present evidence on Tuesday and closing arguments are scheduled on Wednesday.