New Haven Gang Enforcer Sentenced to 18 Years in Federal Prison
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LUIS PADILLA, also known as “Chewie,” 25, of New Haven, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 216 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for his role in a violent New Haven street gang.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in January 2014, ATF and the New Haven Police Department began “Operation Red Side” through a series of controlled narcotics purchases and firearms seizures. The investigation revealed that members and associates of the Red Side Guerilla Brims (“RSGB”), a sect of the Bloods street gang based in New Haven, were engaged in narcotics trafficking and related acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, assaults and armed robberies. In addition to distributing crack cocaine and other narcotics in and around New Haven, the investigation indicated that members and associates of the RSGB, under the direction of Jeffrey Benton and others, transported the drugs to Bangor, Maine, and sold them in Bangor and its surrounding communities. The RSGB also traded narcotics for firearms, brought the firearms back to New Haven and distributed them to gang members.
PADILLA was an RSGB enforcer who committed shootings and robberies on behalf of the gang. He also traveled to Maine several times at Benton’s direction to watch over the gang’s drug trafficking operation.
PADILLA has been detained since August 18, 2014. On that date, a search of his residence revealed a loaded .45 caliber handgun and a box of .45 caliber auto ammunition.
PADILLA subsequently began assisting the government in the prosecution of this matter.
On September 29, 2015, PADILLA pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity, one count of murder in aid of racketeering, and one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon.
In pleading guilty, PADILLA admitted his involvement in the gang-related murders of Derrick Suggs on March 18, 2011; Kevin Lee on April 20, 2011, and Donell Allick on June 24, 2011. He also admitted that he shot and wounded individuals in New Haven on February 23 and March 29, 2011, and that he participated in a home invasion robbery on Putnam Street in New Haven on May 30, 2012. He further admitted his role in the trafficking of narcotics in Connecticut and Maine, and that, as a convicted felon, he illegally possessed a firearm and ammunition on August 18, 2014.
On March 16, 2017, PADILLA pleaded guilty to the additional offenses of attempted Hobbs Act robbery, and carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. In pleading guilty, PADILLA admitted that, on March 14, 2009, when he was 16 years old and prior to his membership in RSGB, he shot and killed Thomas Daniels, Jr., during a failed robbery attempt in New Haven.
As a result of this investigation, 21 members and associates of the RSGB were convicted of federal charges in Connecticut and Maine. The investigation has resolved seven murder cases, four attempted murders and four armed robberies that occurred in 2011 and 2012, and the 2009 murder of Thomas Daniels, Jr. PADILLA is the last defendant to be sentenced.
Benton pleaded guilty to various offenses stemming from this investigation and admitted that he participated in four gang-related murders and one attempted murder. On October 4, 2017, he was sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment.
U.S. Attorney Durham noted that federal prisoners are required to serve at least 85 percent of their prison term and are not eligible for parole.
This investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the New Haven Police Department, the Connecticut Department of Correction, the Connecticut State Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Hamden Police Department. The New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office also provided critical assistance in the investigation.
An instrumental component of the investigation was the work of the Connecticut State Crime Laboratory in utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) to analyze ballistics evidence.
This matter was prosecuted in the District of Connecticut by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter Markle and Jocelyn Kaoutzanis. A related case in the District of Maine was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey.