Meriden man facing drug charges previously convicted in grisly killing

Meriden man facing drug charges previously convicted in grisly killing

reporter photo

MERIDEN — A local man convicted for his involvement in the killing and dismemberment of a rival drug dealer twenty years ago faces new charges after police said he was found with large quantities of marijuana and cocaine.

Jonathan Rivers, 37, of 109 Arch St., was charged Wednesday with narcotics possession, possession with intent to sell, operating a drug factory, criminal possession of a firearm and risk of injury to a minor.

Police in the area of South Colony Street around 7:45 p.m. attempted to stop a vehicle Rivers was driving after they saw a plastic bag thrown from the vehicle, according to a police report. Rivers led police on a chase before being taken into custody.

Police obtained a search warrant for Rivers’ home at 109 Arch St. Between the vehicle and home, officers seized 700 grams of marijuana, 620 grams of cocaine, 59 grams of heroin/fentanyl, 36 grams of crack cocaine, over 200 pills, three firearms, 18 rounds of ammunition, packaging materials and about $2,300 in cash, the report said.

Rivers spent more than nine years in prison after being convicted of homicide in the slaying of Juan Disla, a rival drug dealer.

In 2000 Rivers worked for drug dealer Miguel Estrella, according to court documents.  The two teamed up with two other men to kidnap Disla, steal his drugs and kill him. Robert Marrow and Rivers lured Disla to a meeting at Dairy Queen on Broad Street. While the three men were driving in Disla’s van, Marrow drew a gun on Disla and ordered him to pull over and get in the back.

According to Marrow’s court testimony in 2006, he shot Disla in the leg and tied him up with duct tape in the van. Marrow, Rivers, Estrella and the fourth accomplice, Lawrence Smith, then drove Disla in his own van to a wooded area in Higganum where Marrow strangled the man with his bare hands.

Estrella and Smith cut up the body with a chainsaw and dissolved it in acid. The head was dissolved last, as Smith kept it as a trophy at his house for about a week. Rivers received six ounces of cocaine for his role in the killing, according to testimony.

By February 2001, all four men were arrested in the killing. Rivers was initially charged with conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree assault. In exchange for his testimony, prosecutors agreed to drop all but the kidnapping charge.

Rivers was arraigned in Meriden Superior Court on Thursday. The judge set bond at $750,000 and transferred the case to New Haven Superior Court for March 11.

Read the warrant.