Hartford Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearms
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JASON WATSON, 28, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in New Haven to 48 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for illegally possessing firearms. WATSON also was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service while on supervised release.
According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from a year-long joint law enforcement investigation headed by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force into narcotics trafficking by members and associates of WestHell street gang, and gang-related violent activity. The investigation, which included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of narcotics and physical surveillance, identified Melkuan Scott, also known as “Young God,” “Mel,” “Young” and “YG,” as the leader of the West Hell street gang who, along with WATSON and other associates distributed crack cocaine in the Westland Street area of Hartford.
On April 24, 2014, a grand jury in Hartford returned a 52-count indictment charging 25 members and associates of the WestHell Street Gang, including Scott and WATSON, with narcotics distribution offenses. On April 30, 2014, law enforcement executed federal arrest warrants of the charged defendants and WATSON was arrested at his Hartford residence. On that date, a search of WATSON’s residence revealed a .22 caliber pistol, a .44 caliber revolver, a 9 millimeter pistol and assorted ammunition. Two of the three firearms were manufactured outside of Connecticut.
Prior to April 30, 2014, WATSON had been convicted of multiple felony offenses, and he was on state special parole at the time of his federal arrest. 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.
WATSON has been detained since his arrest. On April 21, 2015, he pleaded guilty to one count of possession of firearms by a previously convicted felon.
This matter has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division. The FBI 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 Squad, Major Crimes Unit and Shooting Task Force are providing valuable assistance to the investigation, and the Capitol Region Emergency Response Team (CREST) assisted with the arrest of certain defendants. The Office of the Chief State’s Attorney is also assisting with this ongoing investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John H. Durham and Peter S. Jongbloed.