Hartford Gang Member Sentenced to More Than 3 Years in Federal Prison for Distributing Crack
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that TAYRENCE WILLIS, a.k.a. “T” and “T-Franklin,” 26, of Hartford, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 37 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for his role in a narcotics trafficking ring.
According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from a joint law enforcement investigation headed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force and the Hartford Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Division targeting gang violence and narcotics trafficking in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood, and related overdoses. The investigation specifically targeted criminal activity being committed by members and associates of the Orange Street Killas (OSK), which operated principally in the area of Orange, Cherry and Arbor Streets. The investigation followed a series of reports of shots fired in the area, and a homicide that was committed on Cherry Street in October 2015. The prosecution was built on court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of narcotics and physical and video surveillance, all of which revealed that OSK members, including WILLIS, acquired heroin and crack cocaine and then sold the narcotics on the streets of Hartford.
On October 8, 2016, investigators intercepted OSK members calls discussing firearms and planning a potentially violent act. Investigators immediately notified Hartford Police that violence might be imminent in the Orange and Cherry Street area, but before police could respond, at approximately 10:12 p.m., a man was chased and shot multiple times in front of 7-9 Cherry Street. The victim was located in the backyard of 51 Orange Street. He was suffering from three gunshot wounds to his legs, was transported to the hospital and survived the shooting. Minutes after the shooting, WILLIS referenced the shooting during a wiretapped call. Subsequent analysis of surveillance video revealed WILLIS was on Cherry Street at the time and was a witness to the shooting.
WILLIS has been detained since his arrest on February 10, 2017. On November 21, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack”).
WILLIS’s criminal history includes convictions related to selling drug, unlawful firearm possession, and leading police on an extended and dangerous vehicle pursuit during which a firearm was thrown from the vehicle he was driving. WILLIS also has been a victim of two separate shootings.
Sixteen individuals were charged as a result of the investigation.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force and the Hartford Police Department. The Task Force includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction. The Hartford Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Division and Shooting Task Force have provided valuable assistance to the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.