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Press Release

Hartford Man Sentenced to 50 Months in Prison for Gun Possession Offense, Violating Supervised Release

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSEPH STEELE, 36, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 50 months of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for unlawfully possessing a firearm and for violating the conditions of his supervised release from a prior federal conviction.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in June 2017, Steele was arrested by Hartford Police after a search of his vehicle revealed a stolen .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol, 50 wax folds of fentanyl, and two knotted plastic bags containing approximately 6.5 grams of crack cocaine.  On April 16, 2018, a federal jury found Steele guilty of drug distribution and firearm possession offenses.  On July 9, 2018, Judge Shea sentenced him to 36 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release.

Steele was released from federal prison in February 2020.  On January 28, 2022, while on federal supervised release, he was arrested by Hartford Police after they found him in possession of a loaded 9mm handgun. 

Steele’s criminal history also includes a 2016 state conviction for possession of a firearm 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.

Steele has been detained since January 28, 2022.  On February 10, 2023, he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon.

Judge Shea sentenced Steele to 37 months of imprisonment for unlawfully possessing a firearm, and a consecutive 13 months of imprisonment for violating the conditions of his supervised release.

This investigation was conducted by the Hartford Police Department and the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force.  The FBI Task Force includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, New Britain Police Department, West Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Stolfi Collins through the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative.  PSN is a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  In May 2021, the Justice Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: Fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Updated May 9, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses