You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hartford Man Sentenced to 54 Months in Federal Prison for Planning Robbery of Drug Dealer

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that WILLIE DEAS, also known as “Debo” and “Flee,” 22, of Hartford, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 54 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for planning to rob a drug dealer.

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 acquired heroin and crack cocaine and then sold the narcotics on the streets of Hartford.

On October 8, 2016, investigators intercepted calls on which Ruben Torres and other OSK members discussed firearms and the planning of 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, DEAS called Torres and referenced both the shooting and hiding a firearm.

On October 10 and 11, 2016, an individual working with law enforcement purchased crack from DEAS.  The individual also told DEAS that he planned to rob his drug supplier and asked DEAS if he had a gun to sell.  DEAS indicated that he had a gun but declined to sell it.  Instead, he offered to bring the gun and help in the robbery.  DEAS was arrested on October 26, 2016, on his way to the “robbery.”  At the time of his arrest, he possessed a .40 caliber handgun, which had been reported stolen, loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition.

DEAS has been detained since his arrest.  On November 6, 2017, he pleaded guilty to one count of interference with commerce by attempted robbery.

Sixteen individuals were charged as a result of the investigation.

Torres pleaded guilty and, on March 30, 2018, was sentenced to 78 months of imprisonment.

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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated June 26, 2018