News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2007

Hartford Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Cocaine Distribution Charge

OCT 26 -- June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LASHAWN SMITH, 23, of Deerfield Avenue, Hartford, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine.

The charge against SMITH stems from a six-month investigation by the Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force that included the use of a variety of investigative techniques including controlled purchases of crack cocaine, federal wiretaps over a two-month period and physical surveillance. The investigation followed an increase in drug trafficking activity and associated violence in the vicinity of Capen and Tolland Streets in Hartford. To date, this ongoing investigation has resulted in the indictment of 14 defendants on federal narcotics and firearms charges. Search and seizure warrants executed during the investigation have resulted in the seizure of seven firearms, significant quantities of powder cocaine and crack cocaine, narcotics paraphernalia, approximately $20,000 in cash, and six vehicles utilized in furtherance of drug trafficking activities.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, SMITH was intercepted during the wiretap phase of the investigation negotiating the purchase of cocaine. Judge Droney has scheduled sentencing for January 11, 2008, at which time SMITH faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1,000,000.

U.S. Attorney O’Connor commended the investigation of this matter that was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Hartford Police Department, the Bloomfield Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the East Hartford Police Department, and the Mid-State Narcotics Task Force.