New Haven Man Admits Role in Drug Robbery Scheme
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that HAROLD HARRINGTON, also known as “Chopper” and “Chapo,” 27, of New Haven, pleaded guilty yesterday in Hartford federal court to a federal robbery offense.
This matter stems from “Operation Samson,” a multi-layered initiative headed by the ATF and the Bridgeport and New Haven Police Departments that targeted violent criminals, illegal firearm possession and firearm trafficking. In the spring of 2014, approximately 40 ATF special agents and personnel from Connecticut and across the country were deployed with New Haven and Bridgeport Police to conduct numerous covert operations.
According to court documents and statements made in court, during the operation, an undercover agent and a confidential informant made several controlled purchases of suspected crack cocaine from Donald Gaines, also known as “Stretch” and “Shorty,” 35, of New Haven. During their contact, the informant asked Gaines if he and anyone he knew would be interested in committing a drug robbery. Gaines stated that he did not want to participate in the robbery itself, but introduced the informant and the undercover agent to Harrington, who claimed to be a member of the Bloods street gang. The undercover agent told Harrington that he wanted to hire someone to commit a home invasion robbery of a drug organization’s “stash house” in order to steal six to eight kilograms of cocaine. Harrington agreed to participate and helped plan the robbery, which would include the use of firearms. Harrington also stated that he would bring members of his crew to help commit the robbery.
The undercover agent and Harrington agreed to split the cocaine taken during the robbery, and they agreed to give Gaines one kilogram of the drug for putting the two individuals together.
On March 21, 2014, the day of the proposed robbery, Harrington arrived at the meeting location with Louis Toler, also known as “A.B.,” 45, of New Haven. After Harrington, Toler and the undercover agent had a detailed discussion about how the robbery was going to be carried out, Harrington and Toler were arrested. A subsequent search of Toler’s car revealed a loaded firearm.
The informant then called Gaines, told him the robbery had gone smoothly and arranged to meet him to deliver the cocaine. When Gaines arrived at the designated location, he identified the law enforcement surveillance and drove off at a high rate of speed. After a short chase, Gaines crashed his car on an off ramp in West Haven, attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended.
Harrington pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery. At sentencing, Harrington faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
On March 5, 2015, Gaines pleaded guilty to the same charge and, on May 1, 2015, Toler pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. They also await sentencing.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Spector and Tracy Dayton.