Hartford Crack Dealer Sentenced to 70 Months in Federal Prison
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that Jerome Willingham, 32, of Hartford, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 70 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for distributing crack cocaine.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in the summer of 2012, in response to a series of shootings in the area of Bond Street and Franklin Avenue in Hartford, the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force began an investigation targeting gang and narcotics activity in that area. In October 2012, investigators began to make controlled purchases of multi-gram quantities of crack cocaine from Joshua Suarez, also known as “Tizzo.” Willingham was subsequently identified as Suarez’s source for crack cocaine.
Willingham has been detained since his arrest on April 28, 2013. On December 16, 2013, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).
Willingham has prior felony convictions, and previously served more than seven years in state custody for criminal possession of a firearm.
The sentence in this case was enhanced after Judge Shea found that Willingham, in advance of his sentencing, had submitted a forged letter to the U.S. Probation Office purporting to confirm his participation in an apprenticeship program. The letter was submitted to corroborate Willingham’s assertion that he sold drugs because he had three children and needed to support them and that he was involved in an ironworker’s apprenticeship program for which he was not receiving compensation. Willingham never participated in the apprenticeship program.
Suarez has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.
This matter was investigated by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force, the Connecticut State Police, the Hartford Police Department, and the Connecticut Department of Correction. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.