Meriden Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Large Quantity of Crack Cocaine
Mark R. Trouville, 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, today announced that JULIUS MOORNING, also known as "Red," age 34,of 53 Ann Street, Meriden, Connecticut, has pleaded guilty to a one-count Information charging him with conspiracy to distribute more than 1.5 kilograms of "crack" cocaine. United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons accepted MOORNING's plea of guilty yesterday, October 12, in Bridgeport federal court. In pleading guilty, MOORNING has also admitted to being an organizer or leader of a criminal activity that involved five or more participants, and that he possessed a firearm during the course of the conspiracy.
The charges arose out of an investigation conducted by the New Haven Drug Task Force, which is composed of agents and officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the New Haven and West Haven Police Departments. The investigation culminated in 49 individuals being charged federally with narcotics offenses - one of the largest drug cases ever brought in Connecticut. According to information disclosed in court proceedings, in late 2003, the Task Force began an investigation into the distribution of crack cocaine throughout the New Haven area by MOORNING and his associates. A variety of traditional and sophisticated investigative techniques were employed by the Task Force, including court-authorized wiretaps, seizures of crack and the seizure of over $88,000 stored in a safe. The indictment alleges that MOORNING and his associates, Edward Hines, Ronald Nelson and Michelle Groom, were obtaining large quantities of crack and powder cocaine and transporting it to New Haven for resale. The crack and cocaine was then sold to local distributors in the Newhallville, Dwight-Kensington, Hill, Fair Haven, Eastern Circle, Westville, Brookside and West Hills sections of New Haven, and in Derby and West Haven, Connecticut. MOORNING, Hines, Nelson and Groom were arrested on April 20, 2004, on a Complaint alleging federal drug conspiracy charges. The four were indicted two weeks later along with 45 other individuals on federal narcotics conspiracy and related charges. MOORNING was ordered detained following his arrest, and will remain in custody until his sentencing.
MOORNING is the eighth defendant to plead guilty in the case. As a result of his plea, MOORNING faces a mandatory term of incarceration of ten years and a maximum term of life, and a fine of up to $4 million. Sentencing is scheduled for December 30, 2004, before United States District Judge Janet C. Hall.
U.S. Attorney O'Connor stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.