Joint Law Enforcement Investigation Takes Down Drug Trafficking Rings Operating in Stamford and New York
DEC 03 --Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Glenn N. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Boston Field Division, and Brent B. Larrabee, Chief of the Stamford Police Department, today announced that federal grand juries sitting in Bridgeport and New Haven have returned five indictments charging 36 individuals with various narcotics and firearms offenses related to the large-scale distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine in and around Stamford.
The charges stem from an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) investigation dubbed “Operation Big Loot,” a six-month investigation that was initiated by the Stamford Police Department’s Narcotics and Organized Crime Squad, with substantial assistance provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The investigation was funded in significant part through the United States Attorney’s Office Project Safe Neighborhoods, Anti-Gang and OCDETF initiatives, and the cases are being prosecuted by members of the United States Attorney’s Office Gang Unit.
According to statements made in court during the initial presentment of several of the defendants in United States District Court in Bridgeport, the investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps. Through the wiretaps, investigating officers identified and dismantled three alleged drug trafficking organizations, two of which operated out of the Bronx, New York, which are alleged to have sold large quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine to Stamford-based narcotics dealers.
Five of the charged defendants were arrested yesterday in New York. Today, federal, state and local law enforcement officers arrested 22 defendants in Stamford and other locations in Fairfield County. Three of the charged defendants were previously arrested and are in state custody, and six of the defendants are currently being sought by law enforcement. Thus far, the Stamford Police Department has arrested an additional 13 defendants on state charges.
To date, this investigation also has resulted in the seizure of more than two kilograms of crack cocaine, more than one kilogram of cocaine, two firearms, several vehicles and approximately $164,000 in cash.
Charged in the indictments with various counts related to the distribution of narcotics are:
TERRENCE LEWIS, DARIUS MCGEE, CHRISTOPHER HORTON, TORRICK JOHNSON, ANDRE SPAULDING and EMMANUEL TYSON have not been apprehended by law enforcement and are currently being sought.
A separate Indictment charges GREGORY RUSSELL, 23, of Orchard Street, Stamford, with one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack cocaine”) and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. If convicted, RUSSELL faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and fine of up to $250,000 on the felon-in-possession of a firearm charge, a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million on the cocaine base charge, and a mandatory minimum consecutive five-year sentence on the charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
LUT MUHAMMAD, WILSON PENA, WILLIAM PENA, TOMMY GARCIA, JUAN ALVAREZ, MAX ANTOINE, GUIVERSON JOSEPH, KELSEY JOYNER, OKEIBA SADIO, and CARLOS MARTE SANTOS are charged with conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base and/or more than five kilograms of cocaine. If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term life imprisonment and a fine of up to $4 million. The filing of a second offender notice under the federal statute would double these penalties.
RAESHAWN BAKER, VINCENT BROWN, RICHARD CASTRO, RAYMOND COCHRAN, MARK GREEN, SAMUEL LEE, CLAYTON BENJAMIN, DARIUS MCGEE, CHKAN HODGE and TERRANCE LEWIS, are charged with conspiring to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base. If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum term of 40 years, and a fine of up to $2 million. The filing of a second offender notice under the federal statute would double these penalties, as well.
SANDLEY ALEXIS, CLIVE DAVIS, ANDRE MALCOLM, JAMES MCCOY, EDGAR LEE POWELL, KEVIN SIMS, TERRENCE SPANN, and GLEN THOMAS, are charged with at least one count of conspiring to distribute a quantity of cocaine and/or cocaine base. If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million.
JEAN ANDRE, RONALD BALLARD, CARIBE BILLIE, CHRISTOPHER HORTON, TORRICK JOHNSON, and EMMANUEL TYSON, are charged with at least one count of using a telephone to facilitate a narcotics trafficking felony. If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of four years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The following individuals, all residents of Stamford, have been arrested on state sale of narcotics offenses:
Acting U.S. Attorney Dannehy commended the law enforcement agents and officers who conducted the investigation and stated that this matter stems from a collaborative Project Safe Neighborhoods effort in Stamford.
“The Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative has been successful in removing illegal firearms and persistent offenders from our streets,” U.S. Attorney Dannehy stated. “The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners in Stamford in order to continue this success and help keep our communities safe.”
“DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative and determined to keep our cities free of the misery that drugs bring to the community,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Derr. “We believe that, as a result of this joint law enforcement action, these neighborhoods are safer today.”
“Guns, drugs and violence plague communities across the country” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Anderson. “Today’s actions should send a strong message that ATF is committed to a sound and safer America.”
“Today’s arrests represent the culmination of many hours of work by a number of law enforcement agencies,” stated Stamford Police Chief Larrabee. “This sweep, which is the largest in the City of Stamford Police Department’s history, we believe, will have a profound long-term effect on drug trafficking and associated crime in this city.”
U.S. Attorney Dannehy stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s DEA’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force (composed of members of the Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk and Stratford Police Departments, and the Connecticut State Police), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Stamford Police Department’s Narcotics and Organized Crime Squad. The United States Marshals Service, the Connecticut State Police, and the Norwalk, Bridgeport, Darien, Greenwich and Danbury Police Departments assisted in the arrests of the defendants today and yesterday.
The federal cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Spector and Jonathan Freimann, and the state cases are being prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney David Applegate