Bridgeport Man Charged With Illegally Possessing Firearm
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport has returned an indictment charging GIOVANNI CANDELARIO, 21, of Bridgeport, with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, at approximately 10 p.m. on February 1, 2014, a vehicle in which CANDELARIO was a passenger engaged in a chase with Bridgeport Police. The vehicle eventually stopped on Ogden Street in Bridgeport and CANDELARIO fled on foot. CANDELARIO was apprehended after he was found hiding in a trash can behind an apartment building on Hallet Street. Officers subsequently traced the route of CANDELARIO’s flight and located a Smith and Wesson MP .40 caliber pistol on the driveway of an Ogden Street residence. The firearm had been previously reported stolen.
The indictment alleges that, in March 2012, CANDELARIO was convicted in state court of possession with intent to distribute narcotics. 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.
This prosecution stems from Project Longevity, 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. A critical component of the Project Longevity strategy is the “call-in,” a face-to-face meeting where Project Longevity partners engage group members 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. CANDELARIO attended a call-in on October 30, 2013, in Bridgeport.
The indictment was returned on February 19 and was unsealed today during CANDELARIO’s arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford. CANDELARIO entered a plea of not guilty to the charge, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
CANDELARIO has been detained since his arrest on February 1.
This matter is being investigated by the FBI’s Bridgeport Safe Streets Task Force and the Bridgeport Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Kale.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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