FBI Task Force Investigation into New Haven Gang Activity Results in Federal Charges Against 11 Men
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 28, 2012|
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that 11 individuals have been charged with federal narcotics offenses stemming from the alleged large-scale distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine in and around New Haven.
According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from an investigation conducted by the FBI New Haven Safe Streets Task Force, the New Haven Police Department, and the Connecticut State Police into drug distribution and related violence allegedly being committed by members and associates of the Grape Street Crips in New Haven. The investigation was funded in significant part by the United States Attorney’s Office Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and supported by the Office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods and Anti-Gang programs.
“This prosecution has focused on drug distribution, gang activity, and related violence on the streets of New Haven,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to combat this illegal and destructive activity in order to improve the quality of life for all the residents of New Haven.”
“Addressing groups responsible for violence throughout our communities is the priority of the FBI’s Safe Street Task Forces,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz. “Today’s arrests are an example of FBI New Haven’s commitment to protecting the citizens of Connecticut from these groups. The FBI will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in this extremely important initiative.”
“The New Haven Police Department is grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in partnering with us to address violence in our city and to hold those responsible accountable,” stated New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman.
“The Connecticut State Police is proud to be a part of this joint investigation into gang activity that led to today’s arrests and the removal of drugs from the streets of Connecticut,” stated Colonel Danny Stebbins of the Connecticut State Police.
As a result of the investigation, the following 11 individuals have been charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribution 500 grams or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”). Nine defendants were arrested today and two defendants are currently in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Correction.
ANAJE AMIN, 27, of Shelton Avenue, New Haven; CODY BELANGER, 30, of Westerly, Rhode Island; DERRICK BROCK, 25, Englewood Drive, New Haven; ROMELL BROWN, 33, of Howard Avenue, New Haven; ALPHONZO DIXON, 24, of Ivy Street, New Haven (currently in state custody); DONALD OGMAN, 30 of Shelton Avenue, New Haven; EDWARD PREZIOSO, 24, of Westerly, Rhode Island; LAMONT REED, 32, of Congress Avenue, New Haven; CORNELL STREETER, 30, of Shelton Avenue, New Haven (currently in state custody); KENNETH STURDIVANT, 26, of Lamberton Street, New Haven; and WAYNE WRIGHT, 27, of Uncasville.
Search warrants executed in conjunction with today’s arrests also yielded crack cocaine, four firearms, and ammunition.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of life, and a fine up to $10 million. The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years, and a fine of up to $5 million.
The defendants arrested today appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport. All are currently detained.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets Task Force, which includes officers from the New Haven, Hamden, and Milford Police Departments; and the State of Connecticut Department of Correction. The investigation was significantly assisted by the Connecticut State Police, the United States Marshals Service, and the Westerly (Rhode Island) Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Kaplan, Gordon Hall and Patrick Caruso.