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8 people arrested following drug bust at Hartford business

The bust came following a months-long investigation, officials said.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Hartford Police made a major drug bust at a business called Hot Mama's posing as a restaurant on Franklin Avenue shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday evening. Police said this investigation took them several months and it resulted in eight people arrested. 

Members of the Hartford Police Vice and Narcotics Division were assisted by the FBI, South Street Crimes Unit, area Community Service Officers, Connecticut State Police, and the Department of Revenue Services helped with the search of the business. 

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"From what I understand, they were charging a cover fee to get it and it was a little shopping center set up," said Lt. Aaron Boisvert of the Hartford Police Dept.

It was not the first time police responded to Hot Mama's.

Inside, police found tables of illegal drugs such as marijuana, fentanyl, cocaine, THC edibles and candy bars, hallucinogenic mushrooms, liquid THC and bottles of "Lean."

"It's sort of like a concoction with codeine in it, some other medications in it," added Lt. Boisvert.

All those drugs were worth over 500 thousand dollars.

Also found were four firearms and over 30 thousand dollars in cash.

"They had firearms which goes to show you a lot of our homicides and shootings are drug-related," added Lt. Boisvert.

"The amount of marijuana seized is the largest. We've had other larger seizures of various narcotics," said Lt. Commander Anthony Pia of the Hartford Police Dept.

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Connecticut residents arrested were 28-year-old Julio Fajardo of Bethel, 42-year-old Jimmy Ball from Manchester, 28-year-old Sherrold Lee from Manchester, and 51-year-old Brian Kreidler from Andover. 

Four out-of-state people were also arrested, including 29-year-old Savannah Royce, 23-year-old Parris Daren and 45-year-old Jonathan Handy all from Massachusetts along with 61-year-old Alfred Hammonds from Pennsylvania. 

Hyacinth Yennie, a Hartford neighborhood advocate spoke out in frustration.

"Most of these restaurants and bodegas are just a front for all these illegal activities in our city. Why do we have a pop-up at every corner, especially bodegas? said Yennie of Hartford. "It's a place where people feel safe to do their drugs and activities and it is sad."

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Hot Mama's is closed for investigation. Police said they expect additional charges for the eight people arrested.

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jglatz@fox61.com.


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