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Press Release

New Haven Gang Member Sentenced to 11 Years in Federal Prison

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that WILLIE GARVIN, also known as “Tank” and “Black,” 27, of New Haven, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 132 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 and used drug addicts as straw purchasers of firearms.  Members then brought the firearms back to New Haven and distributed them to gang members.

GARVIN was an active member of the RSGB.  He traveled frequently to Maine and sold crack cocaine and heroin in the Bangor area.  He also coordinated the purchase of several firearms, which he transported to New Haven for his use and the use of other RSGB members.

The investigation also revealed that GARVIN regularly robbed other drug dealers for cash in the New Haven area.  On December 22, 2011, GARVIN and an associate shot and seriously wounded an individual during an attempted robbery.  On April 26, 2013, GARVIN and another individual robbed a marijuana dealer at gunpoint, stealing approximately $800, a quantity of marijuana and other items.

On June 8, 2014, GARVIN was arrested on state charges after he was found in possession of a loaded .22 caliber firearm.

In December 2014, a grand jury in Connecticut returned an indictment charging GARVIN with robbery and firearm offenses and, in February 2015, a grand jury in Maine returned an indictment charging GARVIN with narcotics and firearm offenses.  On July 30, 2015, he pleaded guilty in Connecticut to possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.  GARVIN also agreed to have his Maine case transferred to Connecticut and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and conspiracy to violate federal firearms laws.

GARVIN has been detained since his arrest on December 23, 2014.

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.

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 480 months of imprisonment.

This investigation has been 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 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 Peter Markle and Jocelyn Kaoutzanis.  A related case in the District of Maine is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey.

Updated June 11, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime