Bridgeport Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering and Witness Tampering Charges
Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that SHAKALE BRANTLEY, also known as “Charlie Wilson,” “Kellz,” and “Man Man,” 21, of Bridgeport, pleaded guilty today in New Haven federal court to racketeering and witness tampering charges.
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. Wilson 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, stole cars from inside and outside Connecticut and used them to commit crimes, and tampered with witnesses who might testify against them.
On August 8, 2018, Brantley and other O.N.E. members stole a white Jeep Grand Cherokee in Newburgh, New York, and drove it back to Bridgeport. In the following days, Brantley conspired to use the car to kill East End gang members who he 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, Brantley and other 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.
In October 2018 in Bridgeport, and in November 2018 in Stratford, Brantley and other O.N.E. members and associates attacked a marijuana dealer and stole marijuana from him. After Brantley was arrested on federal charges on March 23, 2020, and while he was incarcerated, he attempted to solicit others to kill the victim of the marijuana robberies, who Brantley had learned had become a federal witness, in order to prevent Brantley’s prosecution for those offenses. Specifically, Brantley reached out by prison call to associates and by letters addressed to those associates in an effort to have his associates kill the robbery victim and then cover his nose with fentanyl to make it appear as if he overdosed.
In pleading guilty, Brantley also admitted that he distributed controlled substances, including heroin and marijuana.
Brantley pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity and one count of solicitation of witness tampering. At sentencing, which is not scheduled, Brantley faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 35 years.
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 Rahul Kale, Jocelyn C. Kaoutzanis, Peter D. Markle and Karen L. Peck.
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 a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. 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. 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.