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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Eight Charged after FBI New Haven Task Force Investigation; 19 Kilos of Cocaine,$780K Seized

U.S. Attorney Leonard C Boyle, Special Agent in Charge David Sundberg of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and New Haven Police Acting Chief Renee Dominguez today announced that eight individuals have been charged with federal offenses related to the distribution of fentanyl, heroin, crack and powder cocaine in the New Haven area.  As a result of the investigation, law enforcement seized approximately 19 kilograms of cocaine, more than 7,000 bags of fentanyl, and more than $780,000 in cash.

Charged in a five-count indictment are:

JASHON SPEARMAN, also known as “J ” and “Deuce,” 33, of New Haven
JAMES HILLARD, 64, of New York and New Jersey
HENRY HORTON, also known as “Bodie,” 39, of New Haven
JAYQUAN MARTINEZ, also known as “Neighbor” and “Quan,” 20, of New Haven
KISHON SHIELDS, also known as “L.A.” and “Key,” 24, of New Haven
RAYQUAN GORY, also known as “Wavy,” 26, of New Haven
JEREMIAH HARGROVE, also known as “Myers” and “Miah,” 39, of New Haven
TIFFANY BROWN, also known as “Tiff,” 39 of New Haven

As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, in the fall of 2021, the New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force and New Haven Police Department began investigating Spearman and others for the distribution of narcotics in and around the West Hills neighborhood, including the McConaughy Terrace housing complex, in New Haven.  The investigation revealed that Hillard was supplying Spearman with heroin and fentanyl, and that Spearman was receiving kilogram quantities of cocaine through the U.S. Mail from a source in Puerto Rico.  On February 4, 2022, investigators arrested Spearman and Hillard after they met in the Bronx, New York, and a search of Hillard’s car revealed more than 7,000 folds of suspected heroin/fentanyl and approximately $30,000 in cash.

It is further alleged that, on February 8, investigators executed court-authorized search warrants at several locations, including a Ward Street residence where Spearman distributed narcotics, and vehicles in which Spearman was suspected of storing narcotics.  A search of a minivan revealed approximately 19 kilograms of cocaine; a search of a vehicle registered to Spearman revealed $750,400 in cash, assorted jewelry and a quantity of fentanyl; and a search of the Ward Street residence revealed additional cash, several money counters, and numerous cellphones.  The search also found and seized five firearms.

On February 15, a grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment charging the eight defendants with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute various quantities of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine base (“crack”) and cocaine.  Spearman, Horton, Martinez, Shields and Gory are also charged with additional narcotics offenses.  If convicted of the most serious charges in the indictment, Spearman faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life; Hillard faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years, and Horton, Martinez, Shields, Gory, Hargrove and Brown face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

Horton, Martinez, Shields, Gory, Hargrove and Brown were arrested on February 17.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of the seized cash, jewelry and four vehicles.

“I credit all the members of the FBI Safe Streets/Gang Task Force for their great work in this investigation, which has disrupted the flow of a significant amount of cocaine and fentanyl into Connecticut,” said U.S. Attorney Boyle.  “The cocaine and cash seized earlier this month was extraordinary, and would not have been accomplished without a terrific, coordinated effort by all involved.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to stem the drug trade in our cities and appropriately prosecute those responsible for it.”

“We understand the frustration at times expressed by community members about the drug activity within their neighborhoods,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Sundberg.  “This case is the response to some of those demands for action by residents.  The severe impact of this case will be felt for some time thanks to the coordinated efforts of all of our law enforcement partners.”

“We value the relationships we have with our federal partners and the collaborative work that is routinely done,” said Chief Dominguez.  “The arrests of these individuals will provide an immediate positive impact in the community as we continue to work together to make our community safer.  I am grateful for the dedication and hard work from everyone involved in this investigation.”

U.S. Attorney Boyle 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.

This investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  The Task Force includes participants from the New Haven Police Department, Milford Police Department, East Haven Police Department, West Haven Police Department, Connecticut State Police and the Connecticut Department of Correction.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony E. Kaplan and Kenneth L. Gresham through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program.  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.

Topic(s): 
Asset Forfeiture
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Updated February 28, 2022