ARMED CAREER CRIMINAL
TO 15 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that HOPETON WIGGAN, also known as “Hope,” 33, of New Haven, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 180 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for being an armed career criminal.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on October 25, 2008, New Haven police received an anonymous tip that an individual named “Hope” had just entered a barbershop at the intersection of Rowe and Lombard Streets in New Haven carrying a gun. Patrol officers responded to the barbershop and identified WIGGAN as the subject of the tip. The officers asked WIGGAN, who was seated toward the rear of the barbershop, to accompany them outside. As WIGGAN stood up, officers observed a firearm, which was subsequently determined to be a loaded Colt .45 caliber pistol, protruding from his pocket. They then placed WIGGAN in handcuffs and walked him out of the barbershop.
In addition to the firearm, officers seized from WIGGAN $1,348 in U.S. currency, more than one ounce of marijuana and a digital scale.
WIGGAN has previously been convicted of multiple violent felonies, and the ammunition in the firearm was manufactured outside of the state of Connecticut. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.
Judge Underhill sentenced WIGGAN pursuant to the Armed Career Criminal Act, which requires a minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years for convicted felons who possess firearms or ammunition, and who have at least three prior felony convictions for serious drug offenses and/or crimes of violence.
WIGGAN has been in custody since his federal arrest on March 12, 2009.
This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the New Haven Police Department pursuant to the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher M. Mattei.
The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, and improving the safety of residents of Connecticut’s cities. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
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