Bridgeport Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Federal Racketeering Charge
JAMAR TRAYLOR, also known as “J-Hop,” 22, of Bridgeport, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to a racketeering charge stemming from his participation in a violent Bridgeport street gang.
Today’s announcement was made by Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Joseph T. Corradino, State’s Attorney for the Fairfield Judicial District; Bridgeport Acting Police Chief Rebeca Garcia; David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Boston Field Division; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, and Acting U.S. Marshal Lawrence Bobnick.
According to court documents and statements made in court, the FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service and Bridgeport Police have been investigating multiple Bridgeport-based gangs whose members are involved in narcotics trafficking, murder and other acts of violence. Traylor was a member of the Original North End (“O.N.E.”), a gang based in the Trumbull Gardens area of Bridgeport that committed acts of violence against rival gang, including the East End gang, the East Side gang, and the PT Barnum gang. O.N.E. members also robbed drug dealers, sold narcotics, laundered narcotics proceeds, and stole cars from inside and outside Connecticut and used the cars to commit crimes.
On August 8, 2018, Traylor and other O.N.E. members stole a Jeep Grand Cherokee in Newburgh, New York, and drove it back to Bridgeport. In the following days, Traylor and others conspired to use the car to kill East End gang members and their allies who they had learned through social media were at a deli on Stratford Avenue in Bridgeport. Although that plan fell through, in the early morning hours of August 13, 2018, O.N.E. members drove the stolen Jeep to Union Avenue in Bridgeport where they shot and killed Len Smith, 25, who they mistook for a rival East End group member, and shot and seriously wounded Smith’s female companion, both of whom were seated in a parked car. After the shooting, O.N.E. members transported the Jeep to Indian Wells State Park in Shelton where they burned the vehicle in an effort to destroy evidence of the murder.
On October 22, 2018, Traylor and others committed a violent robbery of a marijuana dealer.
On June 1, 2021, Traylor, who at the time was on probation after a state felony weapons conviction, possessed five Glock handguns and ammunition.
Traylor pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. He has been detained since June 1, 2021.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Safe Streets and Violent Crimes Task Forces, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, Bridgeport Police Department, Connecticut State Police and the Bridgeport State’s Attorney’s Office, with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory and the Waterbury Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen L. Peck, Rahul Kale, Jocelyn C. Kaoutzanis and Tara E. Levens.
This prosecution is a part of the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), Project Longevity and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) programs.
PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
Project Longevity is a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence in Connecticut’s major cities. Through Project Longevity, community members and law enforcement directly engage with members of groups that are prone to commit violence and deliver a community message against violence, a law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence and an offer of help for those who want it. If a group member elects to engage in gun violence, the focused attention of federal, state and local law enforcement will be directed at that entire group.
OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.