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Press Release

New Haven Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Firearm and Narcotics Offenses

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

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that SHAVARIUS SMITH, 22, of New Haven, pleaded guilty today via videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Spector in New Haven to firearm and drug offenses.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on October 8, 2021, at approximately 11:15 p.m., New Haven Police recovered a 9-millimeter “ghost gun” equipped with a 31-round high-capacity magazine, and distribution quantities of heroin and crack cocaine, from a parked stolen vehicle that Smith had been driving.  Smith, a known Bloods gang member, was released from prison on September 2, 2021, was serving a term of probation, and was wearing a GPS ankle monitor as a condition of his probation.  Officers located and arrested Smith a short time later.

Smith’s criminal history includes state felony convictions for larceny and drug offenses.  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.

Smith pleaded guilty to one count of possession of ammunition by a felon, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine base (“crack cocaine”), which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.  Smith is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton on October 3, 2022.

Smith has been detained since his arrest.

This matter has been investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the New Haven Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis through the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program and Project Longevity.

PSN, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts, is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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.

Updated June 27, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses