HARTFORD MAN SENTENCED TO 70 MONTHS IN
FEDERAL PRISON FOR DISTRIBUTING CRACK COCAINE
The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced that LIONEL GARDNER, also known as “Bleek,” 27, of Hartford, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to 70 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for distributing crack cocaine.
This matter stems from “Operation Northern Strike,” a 15-month joint law enforcement investigation targeting members and associates of geographically-based street gangs engaging in criminal activity in Hartford’s Upper Albany and Northeast neighborhoods. The investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on multiple telephones, controlled purchases of narcotics and physical surveillance. As a result of the investigation, 35 individuals were charged with various federal drug and firearms violations.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between March and May 2010, GARDNER, a member of the AVE street gang, was intercepted over a wiretap discussing his involvement in the distribution of crack cocaine. GARDNER and a co-defendant discussed the various quantities of crack that they were obtaining, from whom they were obtaining the drug, the prices they were paying for it, as well as the quality of the crack that had procured and whether their customers liked it.
On April 7, 2011, GARDNER pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Gang Task Force – which includes representatives of the FBI, Connecticut State Police and Hartford Police Department – and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian P. Leaming and Geoffrey M. Stone.
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