News Release
For Immediate Release:
January 13, 2009
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Jury Finds New Haven Men Guilty of Federal Crack Cocaine
Distribution Charges

JAN 13 -- Steven W. Derr, 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, today announced that a federal jury in Bridgeport has found ROBERT RAWLS, also known as “Fid” and “Franco,” 42, of Edgewood Avenue, New Haven and CHRIS LAMONT SHERMAN, also known as  “C-L,” 36, formerly of Ella Grasso Boulevard, New Haven, each guilty of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).   The trial before United States District Judge Janet C. Hall began on January 5 and the verdicts were returned this afternoon.

In January 2008, RAWLS, SHERMAN and 15 other individuals were charged by indictment for their involvement in a significant crack cocaine trafficking operation in and around the Newhallville section of New Haven.  The Indictment stemmed from “Operation No Nonsense,” an investigation conducted by the New Haven Drug Task Force, which is composed of agents and officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New Haven Police Department and the West Haven Police Department.

According to the evidence disclosed during the trial, SHERMAN and co-conspirator Roshaun Hoggard regularly obtained powder cocaine from co-defendant Genero Marte in the Bronx, New York, transported it to New Haven, transformed it into crack cocaine, and distributed it in New Haven.  RAWLS lived with Hoggard and assisted Hoggard in transforming and distributing the drugs.

The evidence presented by the Government included court-authorized recordings of telephone calls in which RAWLS, SHERMAN and others discussed the purchase and sale of crack cocaine with Hoggard, and arranged to procure redistribution quantities of the drug.  Evidence also was presented regarding the seizure of more than 250 grams of cocaine powder from SHERMAN on November 27, 2007 in New Haven, as he and Hoggard were returning from a re-supply trip to New York where they obtained the drugs from Marte and his associates.  In addition, crack, scales, packaging material and other paraphernalia were recovered from a safe in RAWLS and Hoggard’s apartment of during the execution of a search warrant on December 10, 2007.

Judge Hall has scheduled sentencing for March 30, 2009, at which time RAWLS and SHERMAN each face a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.

On November 20, 2008, a jury found Hoggard and Marte guilty of crack distribution charges.  They await sentencing.

This case has been investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New Haven Police Department, the West Haven Police Department, the Shelton Police Department, the Meriden Police Department and the Branford Police Department.  The United States Marshals Service assisted in the arrests of several of the defendants in the case.