Jury Finds Connecticut Man Guilty of Making Grenades, Selling Guns Intended for White Supremacist Group
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 01, 2010|
BRIDGEPORT, CT—A federal jury in Bridgeport, Conn., today found Alexander DeFelice, 33, of Milford, Conn., guilty of conspiracy and firearms offenses stemming from an alleged attempt to sell firearms and explosive grenades to what he thought was a white supremacist group located outside of Connecticut, announced David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. The jury found DeFelice’s co-defendants Kenneth Zrallack, 29, of Ansonia, Conn., and David Sutton, 46, of Milford, not guilty of conspiring with DeFelice and others in the same conspiracy. The trial began on Nov. 15, 2010, and the jury returned the verdicts this morning.
“We respect the jury’s verdicts and are pleased that a previously convicted felon who was involved in the manufacture of grenades that he knew were intended for a white supremacist group now faces a significant term of imprisonment,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “I want to thank the members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for their diligent investigative work that has led to today’s conviction, and the conviction of two other defendants who previously pleaded guilty to charges stemming from this criminal scheme. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the safety of all Americans and prosecuting those who seek to harm anyone whose race, ethnicity or religious beliefs differ from his or her own.”
According to the evidence at trial, in late 2008 and early 2009, DeFelice associated with a cooperating witness working under FBI supervision. DeFelice and the witness attended meetings of a white supremacist group known as the Connecticut White Wolves, and drove to and from meetings of another such group known as North East White Pride. The cooperating witness had identified himself to DeFelice as a member of a large, out-of-state white supremacist group known as the Imperial Klans of America (IKA). Also, the witness let it be known that he was a convicted felon. Over the course of a series of discussions about firearms, DeFelice offered to sell the cooperating witness semi-automatic weapons and ammunition.
On March 9, 2009, DeFelice advised the cooperating witness that he had a deal arranged and, later that evening, the witness went to meet DeFelice in the garage of his home in Milford. Also in the garage were William Bolton of Milford, Conn., and Edwin Westmoreland of Stratford, Conn. After some discussion, DeFelice and the other defendants sawed off the barrel of a shotgun and sold it to the cooperating witness for $300.
The evidence also showed that on March 23, 2009, DeFelice arranged a meeting with the cooperating witness in the parking lot of a Hamden, Conn., shopping plaza, and told the witness he could arrange to provide the witness’ “people,” referring to the IKA, with grenades and other live explosive devices. Eventually, DeFelice requested, and the cooperating witness provided, three empty grenade shells that DeFelice advised would be converted into live grenades.
On Nov. 11, 2009, DeFelice and Westmoreland sold a rifle and a shotgun to the cooperating witness.
On Jan. 23, 2010, DeFelice, with Westmoreland’s assistance, completed making the explosive grenades and sold and delivered them to the cooperating witness for $3,000.
On Jan. 28, 2010, five days after the grenades sale, the FBI conducted a court-authorized search of DeFelice’s residence, where they found and seized a 12-gauge shotgun, live rounds of ammunition of various calibers, and several items used to make the explosive grenades. DeFelice was arrested at that time.
Today, the jury found DeFelice guilty of one count of conspiracy, two counts of transferring a firearm to a convicted felon, one count of making explosive grenades and one count of transferring explosive grenades. Following the jury’s verdicts, DeFelice also pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Feb. 18, 2011, at which time DeFelice faces a total maximum term of 65 years in prison.
DeFelice has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on Jan. 28, 2010.
On June 29, 2010, Edwin Westmoreland pleaded guilty to one count of sale of a firearm to a convicted felon, and one count of conspiracy to sell firearms to a convicted felon and to make and transfer unregistered firearms consisting of explosive grenades. On Aug. 18, 2010, William Bolton pleaded guilty to one count of Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy, and one count of sale of a firearm to a convicted felon. Westmoreland and Bolton await sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Fein commended the joint investigation of this matter, which has been conducted by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, notably the FBI, the Connecticut State Police, the U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Air Marshal Service, with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service; the U.S. Army, Criminal Investigation Command, and the Milford, Ansonia, Stratford and New Haven Police Departments.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry K. Kopel and Peter S. Jongbloed, and Trial Attorney David Cora of the Department of Justice's National Security Division.