U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut
(203) 821-3700
July 1, 2015

Hartford Man Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Role in Crack Cocaine Distribution Ring

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MORRIS CARTER, JR., also known as “Chilly Mo” and “Mo,” 46, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by seven years of supervised release, for distributing crack cocaine.

This matter stems from “Operation Vinefield,” a joint law enforcement investigation headed by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force targeting narcotics trafficking and gang violence in Hartford’s North End. As a result of the nine-month investigation, 38 individuals were charged with various offenses related to the distribution of crack cocaine and the unlawful possession and dealing of firearms in and around Hartford.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the investigation revealed that Joshua Easterling, also known as “Skeet,” “Squash” and “SQ,” controlled the distribution of crack cocaine in Hartford’s lower Vine Street area. Easterling distributed crack to other street-level dealers, and also sold the drug directly to customers. In addition, Easterling utilized individuals, including CARTER, as “pagers” or “runners” who would bring customers to Easterling, deliver small quantities of narcotics and provide information on police activity.

CARTER’s criminal history includes multiple several felony convictions, including a conviction for manslaughter in the first degree in 1990.

CARTER has been detained since his arrest on January 9, 2012. On February 28, 2013, a jury found him guilty of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”), and one count of use of a telephone to facilitate a narcotics trafficking felony.

Easterling pleaded guilty and, on May 18, 2015, was sentenced to 120 months of imprisonment.

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 was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

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