Hartford Man Guilty of Federal Drug and Gun Offenses
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal jury in Hartford has found JOSEPH STEELE, also known as “Joey,” 32, of Hartford, guilty of drug and firearm offenses. The trial before U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea began on April 12 and the jury returned verdicts of guilty on three counts of a four-count indictment yesterday afternoon.
According to the evidence disclosed during the trial, on June 14, 2017, the Hartford Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Unit received information that STEELE was in possession of a firearm while operating a white Cadillac. Investigators located the Cadillac and conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of Enfield Street and Capen Street. After STEELE consented to a search of the vehicle, investigators lifted a rear seat cushion and found a .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol, 50 wax folds of fentanyl, and two knotted plastic bags containing approximately 6.5 grams of crack cocaine.
In April 2016, STEELE was convicted in Connecticut Superior Court of possession of a pistol without a permit. 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.
Yesterday, the jury found STEELE guilty of one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack cocaine”), one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, and one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon. STEELE was acquitted of one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Judge Shea scheduled sentencing for July 9, 2018, at which time STEELE faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each of the drug offenses, and a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on the firearm offense.
STEELE has been detained since his arrest on June 14, 2017.
This investigation was conducted by the Hartford Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Unit and the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crime Gang Task Force, which includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael J. Gustafson and Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis.