News Release
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Phone: 617-557-2138

September 10, 2008

Willimantic Man Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison
for Illegal Possession of a Firearm

SEP 10 -- Kevin L. Lane, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ERIC TORRES, 27, of Foster Street, Willimantic, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.  On April 4, 2008, TORRES pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, on June 7, 2007, TORRES possessed a Beretta, Model 21-A, .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol in Willimantic.

On January 23, 2004, TORRES was convicted of State burglary and assault charges.  It is a violation of federal law for a convicted felon to possess a firearm that moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

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.

This matter has been investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, the Norwich Police Department, the New London Police Department, the City of Groton Police Department, the Town of Groton Police Department, the Waterford Police Department, the Stonington Police Department, the Willimantic Police Department and the Connecticut State Police.