One week after a man wanted on federal drug trafficking and weapons charges , the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is still on the lookout for the fugitive.
“We’re assisting them whenever they ask for assistance,” Lt. David D’Ancicco said. He said ATF agents have been in contact with the town’s detectives and are “pursuing different things.” The case is ongoing and active, he said.
Frank Annette, 34, eluded police last Friday. For more than four hours, police in his brother’s house at 222 Totoket Road, but when a regional SWAT team stormed the house at about 7 p.m., Annette was nowhere to be found. It was later determined the fugitive’s brother, William Annette, was not the owner of the house and had no direct involvement, D’Ancicco said.
On the scene at about 4:30 p.m., Police Chief Matthew Canelli said the last person to see Annette was a detective who had gone to the house at about 2 p.m. on a license plate issue. The detective – later confirmed by D’Ancicco as Detective Sgt. Kenneth McNamara – identified Annette as having an active warrant for narcotics trafficking and when he went to call for backup, the suspect ran into the house, Canelli said.
In an interview Thursday, D’Ancicco said though it took only a few minutes for backup to arrive, the suspect might have fled within that window because that was when the area was the least secure.
Approximately 30 minutes after the suspect rushed inside the house, an immediate family member of Annette’s was stopped at the roadblock down the street from the house, D’Ancicco said. He said the immediate family member – who he did not identify further – used their own cell phone to make contact with one of three people inside the Totoket Road home.
After the call, Annette’s girlfriend, her brother and a young boy exited the house, D’Ancicco said. He said there have been no charges filed against the three people or the immediate family member of Annette's.
Shortly after the three people left the house, the North Branford-North Haven SWAT team secured the perimeter, Canelli said on the scene Friday at about 4:30 p.m. At this time, he told Patch: “Standard operating procedure is to wait a few hours to let him calm down and see if he wants to talk to us and see if we can negotiate him out of the house.”
D’Ancicco said at this point authorities had pinged Annette’s cell phone, which located the device inside the house.
However, as of 5:30 p.m., attempts to communicate with Annette via a bullhorn and calls to his cell phone and the house’s landline had failed, Canelli said last Friday. At about 6 p.m. a flash bang explosive was thrown into the home, but nothing stirred inside. Then, an hour later, the SWAT team broke into the house and found nothing.
“The way it went chronologically is a direct result of the SWAT team,” D’Ancicco said on Thursday. “They’re trained for that in ways of deployment and entry. It’s not up to the chiefs of each department to change the course,” he said.
On the scene Friday, Deputy Police Chief Michael Doody said there are two federal warrants out for Annette’s arrest: one for narcotics distribution and possession of a firearm while trafficking narcotics, which was issued last September in Burlington, Vt., his last known address; and one for conspiracy to distribute cocaine-based crack and narcotics.
Two ATF agents, six state troopers, two U.S. marshals and a team of 14 SWAT members were called to 222 Totoket Road, Canelli said.
Before it was discovered that he had fled, Canelli said Annette could face up to 20 years in prison. He had added, “He has some serious time hanging over his head. You don’t know what he’s going to do.”