News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2008

Norwich Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Drug, Gun Charges

JAN 17 -- June 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 MICHAEL MORSE, 27, of Norwich, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to one count of possessing with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”), and one count of dealing in firearms without a license.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, between January 12, 2007 and March 21, 2006, MORSE, who did not have a license to deal in firearms, sold firearms to a confidential informant, including a Colt Model Cobra, .38 caliber revolver; a Norinco, Model MAK 90, 7.62 x 39 caliber rifle; an FN Commercial HP, 9mm. pistol; a Smith and Wesson Model 36, .38 caliber revolver; and a Raven Arms, Model P-25, .25 caliber pistol.

On January 24, 2007, MORSE also sold more than 14 grams of crack cocaine to the confidential informant.

Judge Thompson has scheduled sentencing for April 3, 2008, at which time MORSE faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum term of imprisonment of life and a fine of up to $2,000,000 on the crack cocaine charge, and a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the firearms charge.

This prosecution is part of an ongoing federal, state and local law enforcement effort to quell violence fueled by the drug trade in southeastern Connecticut. On December 1, 2005, Deshawn Stewart was killed in a hit and run in retaliation for a gunpoint robbery of two individuals in New London in which he took part. Following Stewart’s death, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives intensified its relationship with the New London and Norwich Police Departments in order to investigate narcotics and firearms trafficking in the area, and target habitual offenders and individuals with violent histories for federal prosecution. To date, more than 30 individuals have been charged with federal crimes as a result of this joint investigative effort. Several additional individuals have been prosecuted by the New London States Attorney’s Office. The effort, which has expanded to include several additional police departments and the Connecticut State Police, also has removed more than two dozen illegal firearms from the streets.

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