Investigation of Gang-Related Shootings in New Haven Results in Federal Charges against 6 Men
U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly, ATF Special Agent in Charge Mickey D. Leadingham and New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell today announced that a long-term investigation into numerous shooting incidents in New Haven has resulted in federal racketeering, attempted murder, firearm and narcotics trafficking offenses against alleged members and associates of a local New Haven street gang.
According to statements made in court, the New Haven Police Department’s Shooting Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been investigating approximately 40 unsolved shootings in New Haven and Hamden. Ballistic examination of recovered cartridge cases has determined that three firearms were used in 18 shootings committed in or around New Haven last year. It is alleged that the three firearms were possessed by members and associates of the Goodrich Street Boys (“GSB”), a New Haven street gang, and that GSB members also were involved in a number of other shootings in 2016, many of them retaliatory against rival gang members.
On August 3, 2017, a grand jury in New Haven returned a 13-count indictment charging the following six New Haven residents with conspiring to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity that includes multiple shootings and narcotics trafficking:
MILTON WESTLEY, a.k.a. “Reese,” 19
CLIFFORD BRODIE, a.k.a. “Cliff G,” 20
SEDALE PERVIS, a.k.a. “Scope,” 25
DEJUAN WARD, a.k.a. “Hot Boi,” 20
MICHAEL BELLE, a.k.a. “MB,” 18
MICHAEL VIA, a.k.a. “Mike Live” 20
WESTLEY, BRODIE, BELLE and VIA were arrested today. They appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport and were ordered detained.
PERVIS and WARD were previously arrested and are detained in federal custody.
The indictment alleges that the six defendants have been affiliated with “GSB,” which has ties to Goodrich Street in the Newhallville area of New Haven and currently has members and associates living throughout the city of New Haven. Recently, GSB has aligned with Fruit Town Piru (a Bloods sect) against rival criminal organizations in New Haven including an alliance of street gangs known as Starrblock, West Read Street (“WR2”), Read St. (“R2”), and Slutwave. GSB members and associates have been engaged in the distribution of heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana and, as a part of its criminal enterprise, have committed acts of violence, including assaults and attempted murder.
The indictment alleges that, between September 2015 and May 2016, GSB members and associates were involved in six gang-related shootings that caused injuries to five individuals. The indictment further alleges that GSB members and associates also distributed heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana.
“This investigation, which has been a great collaboration between our Office, ATF and the New Haven Police Department, has utilized cutting-edge ballistic analysis to connect 18 recent shootings to three handguns that, we allege, were possessed by GSB members and associates,” said U.S. Attorney Daly. “The indictment specifically alleges that GSB members were involved in multiple shootings and, as a result, five individuals suffered gunshot wounds. Studies show, and this investigation seems to confirm, that an incredibly small percentage of a city’s population is responsible for most of the gun violence that occurs there. The murder rate in New Haven has plummeted in recent years, and we will continue to identify and root out violent actors to ensure that this positive trend continues.”
“These arrests demonstrate the outstanding partnership between the ATF, the New Haven and Hamden Police Departments, and the United States Attorney’s Office,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Leadingham. “We share a strong commitment to working together to remove illegal firearms, drugs and violent criminals that compromise the safety of our communities.”
“This investigation in another example of terrific collaboration between the New Haven Police Department, ATF and U.S. Attorney’s Office to reduce violent crime in New Haven,” said Chief Campbell. “We believe that members of this gang were responsible for a large percentage of the shootings that occurred in our city in 2016. Together with our federal law enforcement partners we will continue to remove violent individuals from the community and make New Haven a safe place to live.”
U.S. Attorney Daly noted that this prosecution is a Project Longevity enforcement action. Project Longevity is a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence in Connecticut’s major cities. Through Project Longevity, community members and law enforcement directly engage with members of groups that are prone to commit violence and deliver a community message against violence, a law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence and an offer of help for those who want it.
“Project Longevity aims to deter violence and not simply react to it,” said U.S. Attorney Daly. “However, if a group or gang, such as GSB, engages in gun violence, they will become the focus of all the law enforcement partners who participate in the Project Longevity Intelligence meetings held at the NHPD four days a week, and appropriate federal and state criminal violations will be charged.”
In addition to the racketeering conspiracy charge, the indictment charges each of the defendants with carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and/or drug trafficking crime. WARD and BRODIE are also charged with committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering (VCAR), specifically attempted murder, and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. PERVIS is charged with knowing transfer of a firearm for use in a crime of violence, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. WARD is charged with receipt of a firearm by an individual who is addicted to a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. WESTLEY and BRODIE are charged with possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, heroin and cocaine base (“crack”). Finally, BRODIE and BELLE are charged with possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, marijuana.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the New Haven Police Department. The FBI, Hamden Police Department and New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office have provided critical assistance in the investigation.
An instrumental component of this investigation has been the work of the Connecticut State Crime Laboratory in utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) to analyze ballistics evidence.
This matter is being prosecuted in the District of Connecticut by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis, Peter D. Markle and Rahul Kale.