Bridgeport Gang Member Sentenced to 18 Years in Federal Prison for Role in 2018 Murder
TA’RON PHARR, also known as “250,” 22, of Bridgeport, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to 216 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for gang-related activity, including his role in a murder in Bridgeport’s East End in August 2018.
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. Pharr 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, Pharr and other O.N.E. members, including Shakale Brantley, Jaylen Wilson and Jamar Traylor, stole a white Jeep Grand Cherokee in Newburgh, New York, and drove it back to Bridgeport. In the following days, O.N.E. members conspired to use the car to kill East End gang members and their allies who O.N.E. members 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, Pharr, 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.
During the investigation, three individuals told law enforcement that Pharr admitted to them that he participated in the shooting.
Pharr and Wilson were arrested on July 7, 2020. A search of a car they both occupied just prior to their arrests revealed three loaded handguns, one of which had an extended magazine, as well as quantities of crack, heroin and marijuana.
Pharr has been detained since his arrest. On July 6, 2021, he pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity.
Brantley pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity and one count of solicitation of witness tampering and, on January 26, 2022, was sentenced to 24 years of imprisonment.
Wilson and Traylor have pleaded guilty to related charges and await sentencing.
This 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, Karen L. Peck 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.