Home New Haven Press Releases 2014 Four Hartford Men Indicted as Part of Project Longevity Investigation

Four Hartford Men Indicted as Part of Project Longevity Investigation

U.S. Attorney’s Office July 17, 2014
  • District of Connecticut (203) 821-3700

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in Hartford has returned indictments against four Hartford residents allegedly involved in drug trafficking and associated criminal activity in the Garden Street area of Hartford known as the “Chicken Coop.” The indictments were returned on July 16, 2014.

KEITH SHEPARD, also known as “Pretty,” 23, is charged with four counts of distributing crack cocaine and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The indictment alleges that on four occasions in June 2014, SHEPARD possessed and distributed crack cocaine. The indictment further alleges that on June 20, 2014, SHEPARD, who previously had been convicted of multiple felony offenses, possessed a .380 caliber Taurus pistol. He has been in custody since his arrest on June 23, 2014.

GARY PIERCE, also known as “GP,” 27, is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The indictment alleges that on May 11, 2014, PIERCE, who previously had been convicted of multiple felony offenses, possessed a .45 caliber Taurus pistol. He has been in custody since his arrest on that date.

COURTNEY GRAVELY, also known as “Ceasar” and “Ceas,” 29, is charged with six counts of distributing crack cocaine and one count of possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute it. The indictment alleges that on six occasions in June and July 2014, GRAVELY possessed and distributed crack cocaine, and, on July 9, 2014, he possessed with intent to distribute crack cocaine. He has been in custody since his arrest on July 9.

JAMES DUDLEY, also known as “Pooka,” 28, is charged with five counts of distributing crack cocaine, one count of maintaining a drug distribution premises, one count of being a felon in possession of firearms, and one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes. The indictment alleges that in June and July 2014, DUDLEY manufactured crack cocaine in an apartment at 2505 Main Street in Hartford, and then distributed the drug on multiple occasions. The indictment further alleges that on July 9, 2014, DUDLEY, who previously had been convicted of multiple felony offenses, possessed a .380 caliber Taurus pistol and a .22 caliber Ruger rifle. He has been in custody since his arrest on July 9.

This prosecution stems from Project Longevity, a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence in Connecticut’s major cities. Through Project Longevity, community members and law enforcement directly engage with members of groups that are prone to commit violence. A critical component of the Project Longevity strategy is the “call-in,” a face-to-face meeting where Project Longevity partners engage group members and deliver a community message against violence, a law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence and an offer of help for those who want it. The alleged criminal activity engaged in by the four defendants occurred after a call-in that was held on April 1, 2014, and was attended by associates of the defendants.

U.S. Attorney Daly stated that the investigation is ongoing.

The charge of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of crack cocaine carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million.

With respect to the firearms counts, it is against federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce. The charge of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

DUDLEY faces an additional five-year consecutive term of incarceration if convicted of possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. He also faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000 if convicted of maintaining a drug distribution premises.

U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Hartford Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson.

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