Thirty-Five Charged as a Result of Federal Task Force Investigation Into Hartford Gang, Drug Activity
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 23, 2010|
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that 35 individuals have been charged with various federal narcotics and firearms violations stemming from a 15-month joint law enforcement investigation dubbed “Operation Northern Strike.” The investigation, which targeted alleged members and associates of geographically based street gangs operating in Hartford’s North End, is being conducted by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Gang Task Force—which includes members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Connecticut State Police, Hartford Police Department, and Bloomfield Police Department—in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on multiple telephones, controlled purchases of narcotics and physical surveillance.
On September 15, 2010, a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford returned a 56-count superseding indictment charging 33 individuals with various federal drug trafficking offenses related to distribution of crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana in the Hartford area. Two of the defendants named in the superseding indictment are charged with federal firearms violations. Two additional defendants have been charged separately with federal firearms violations as a result of the investigation. Several of the defendants have been charged previously and arrested during the past three months, and the investigation culminated earlier this week when Task Force members conducting a coordinated operation arrested 16 individuals. Four defendants are being sought by law enforcement.
“Federal law enforcement is committed to working with our state and local counterparts to target and disrupt drug trafficking and gang activity in our cities,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “I want to commend the agents and officers from the FBI, DEA, Connecticut State Police and the Hartford and Bloomfield Police Departments whose cooperative efforts are helping to improve the quality of life of Hartford’s residents.”
The 33 individuals charged in various counts of the superseding indictment are:
JOSEPH SMITH, a.k.a. “Nitty,” 28, of Edgewood Street, Hartford(*BAISDEN, GARDNER, MACK, and BARNO are currently being sought.)
ROME ADAMS, a.k.a. “Cup” and “E,” 29, of Magnolia Street, Hartford
ANDREA SPENCER, a.k.a. “Jackie” and “Miss Jackie,” 41, of Cornwall Street, Hartford
JAMES HARRIS, a.k.a. “BK,” 25, of Oakland Terrace, Hartford
*BLANCHARD BAISDEN, a.k.a. “Shrek,” “Weedy,” “Yak” and “B,” 29, of Oakland Terrace, Hartford
COREY CALBERT, a.k.a. “Bump,” 30, of Deermeadow Drive, Bloomfield
BREANN WYNTER, a.k.a. “Bree,” 20, of Baltimore Street, Hartford
KYLE PITTS, a.k.a. “Bark,” 26, of Norman Drive, Hartford
KENDAL WILLIAMS, a.k.a. “Cent,” 28, of Milford Street, Hartford,
*LIONEL GARDNER, a.k.a. “Bleek,” 26, of Enfield Street, Hartford
MALLORY MICKENS, a.k.a. “Buddha,” 40, of Filley Street, Bloomfield
EDWIN MALDONADO, a.k.a. “Chunk,” 29, of Main Street, Hartford
JOSE MARTINEZ, a.k.a. “Jav,” 31, of East Street, New Britain
ALLEN BAILEY, a.k.a. “Cheese,” 37, of Enfield Street, Hartford
ERIC HIPPOLYTE, a.k.a. “Aaron Hippolyte” and “Hip,” 29, of Mansfield Street, Hartford
BRANDON JONES, a.k.a. “City,” 22, of Elm Street, Willimantic
*DOMINIQUE MACK, a.k.a. “Little Sweets,” 20, of Hartford
FLOYD RILEY, a.k.a. “F,” 27, of Mansfield Street, Hartford
CHERRY BLUE, a.k.a. “Toya,” 26, of Magnolia Street, Hartford
MICHAEL PETTUS, a.k.a. “Michael Dixon” and “Mez,” 26, currently in state DOC custody
JOVAN SMITH, a.k.a. “Hood,” 32, of Center Street, Hartford
TAMARA ANDERSON, a.k.a. “T-Money,” 26, of Vineland Terrace, Hartford
ANTHONY CARUSO, a.k.a. “Tone,” 29, of Walnut Street, Enfield
ARMANDO SOTO, a.k.a. “Cuba,” 62, of Main Street, Hartford
BRANDY DAVIS, 32, currently in state DOC custody
RASCELL LEGGETT, a.k.a. “Cell” and “Fat Ass,” 23, of Adams Street, Hartford
JAQUAN LEGGETT, a.k.a. “Tipsy,” 22, of Adams Street, Hartford
JEFFREY MERRITT, a.k.a. “Compton,” 46, of East Raymond Road, Hartford
FRITZ VOLCY, 24, of Garden Street, Hartford
*DEQUAN BARNO, a.k.a. “Day Day,” 20, of Huntington Street, Hartford
RICKY HURT, a.k.a. “Fool,” 27, of Alden Street, Hartford
CURON JOHNSON, a.k.a. “Buck,” 20, of Sargeant Street, Hartford
SHANE HENRIQUES, a.k.a. “Banks,” 23, of Kane Street, West Hartford
Two additional individuals, HAROLD COOK, a.k.a. “Shai Lee Wilson,” “Oink” and “General,” 33, of Enfield Street, Hartford, and DAVID PRADO, a.k.a. “Chino,” 31, of New Park Avenue, Hartford, have been arrested as a result of the investigation. Both defendants are charged in a separate, three-count indictment with possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, possession of an unregistered sawed-off shot gun and conspiracy to possess and unregistered sawed-off shot gun. The indictment was returned on August 10, 2010.
U.S. Attorney Fein noted that not all of the defendants charged are alleged to be gang members or associates.
If convicted, a number of the defendants face a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of life, and fines of up to $4,000,000. Due to prior narcotics trafficking convictions, a number of defendants face increased penalties.
U.S. Attorney Fein 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Gang Task Force—which includes representatives of the FBI, Connecticut State Police, Hartford Police Department, and Bloomfield Police Department—and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian P. Leaming and Geoffrey M. Stone.