Nearly a month after skipping out on his scheduled sentencing for a 2012 rape, authorities caught up Thursday with Dardian Celaj, the Albanian national and convicted felon who managed to elude court-ordered round-the-clock GPS tracking.
U.S. marshals found Celaj on Warren Avenue in Naugatuck and turned him over to Derby police, Derby police Lt. Sal Frosceno said. Police declined to elaborate on how they knew Celaj was there.
Celaj, 36, was being held late Thursday, with bail set at $1 million. He will be arraigned Friday morning at Superior Court in Derby. His case is expected to be transferred to Superior Court in Milford, where Celaj faces the rape sentencing.
Celaj's attorney, Stephan E. Seeger of Stamford, said he was notified Thursday of Celaj's arrest but had not yet determined the reasons for Celaj's absence from court.
"I have no idea where he has been or what he's been doing," Seeger said late Thursday.
Celaj was supposed to be monitored with a GPS ankle bracelet until being sentenced at Superior Court in Milford on Aug. 1 for raping a 22-year-old woman who worked at Club Europa, Celaj's former Derby nightclub.
But the court-ordered safeguards were not enough to ensure that Celaj would appear in court. Celaj — who federal prosecutors charged took part years ago in violent home invasions that they said were tied to New York's Genovese crime family — also failed to show up in court this month for an unrelated arrest in Seymour.
Prosecutors were so concerned about Celaj's criminal record that they pushed multiple times in 2012 and again this past April for deportation proceedings for him. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials did not immediately return calls for comment Thursday.
Celaj was scheduled to be sentenced in state court on Aug. 1 for the March 2012 rape. He had been freed soon after his arrest after posting a $250,000 bond. Prosecutors said the woman was sexually assaulted after the club closed on March 2, 2012. The woman told Derby police that she was by herself cleaning the club about 4:30 a.m. when Celaj showed up.
The two engaged in "consensual kissing" that "turned violent and physical," State's Attorney Kevin Lawlor said, according to a transcript of an April 22 hearing in which Celaj took a plea deal shortly after the case went to trial.
Lawlor said that Celaj pulled the victim by her hair and sexually assaulted her "for some time" while she "was begging, pleading for him to stop." The victim escaped after Celaj, who was drunk, passed out.
Celaj pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree sexual assault in the middle of the victim's testimony at trial. He entered the plea under the Alford doctrine, meaning that he did not admit guilt but conceded that there was probably enough evidence to convict him at trial. He faced up to eight years in prison.
Judge Frank A. Iannotti warned Celaj that the plea agreement would be withdrawn if he failed to show up at the sentencing. He ordered Celaj to wear a GPS locater so that authorities could keep track of his whereabouts 24 hours a day.
When Celaj failed to show up for the Aug. 1 sentencing, Iannotti issued a rearrest order for him, according to a transcript of the court hearing. The $250,000 bond was forfeited and Iannotti set bail at $1 million, cash only, the transcript said.
On Thursday, Seeger said once the case is back in court, he will resume his fight to have Celaj's plea withdrawn. Seeger, who took over the case after the plea deal was struck, filed the motion based on claims that Celaj was not adequately informed about the impact a guilty plea would have on his immigration status.
Celaj also has a pending case at Superior Court in Derby, where he faces charges of breach of peace, burglary and criminal mischief in connection with a Jan. 30 incident at the Seymour home of a 37-year-old woman he was dating, according to court records.
According to Seymour police, Celaj went to the woman's apartment but she did not want to see or speak to him. Celaj then tried to get inside the apartment by pushing "down a glass slider door," police said.
The woman told police that Celaj became "verbally violent" so she "left out of fear" as Celaj "destroyed items throughout the apartment," police said. Celaj was released from custody after posting $5,000 bail. A judge issued a protective order barring Celaj from having any contact with the woman and banning him from her home.
Celaj was sentenced in federal court in 2011 to time served after pleading guilty to robbery and firearms charges. A grand jury indictment handed up in the Southern District of New York charged Celaj with committing armed home invasions in Orange County, N.Y., and Morris County, N.J.
According to the 2007 federal indictment, Celaj and other men were hired by the Genovese family to break into the homes of wealthy residents and steal money and valuables. In the New Jersey home invasion, the men broke into the victim's home and tied up the victim, the victim's wife and the victim's housekeeper. The victim was pistol-whipped before the men escaped with "several hundred thousand dollars" worth of cash, collectible coins, jewelry and guns, according to a Sept. 17, 2008, press release from federal prosecutors in New York.
A portion of the proceeds was given to Genovese family captain, or "capo," Angelo Prisco as a "tribute," the press release said.Copyright © 2015, CT Now