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Press Release

New Haven Man Pleads Guilty to Heroin Trafficking Charge, Faces 10 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 BRIAN K. BACKMAN, also known as “B,” “NYB” and “New York B,” 54, of New Haven, pleaded guilty today in New Haven federal court to a heroin trafficking offense.

This matter stems from an investigation headed by the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force and New Haven Police Department that targeted drug trafficking and related acts of violence by members, former members and associates of the “Island Brothers” street gang in New Haven.  The investigation, which included court-authorized wiretaps and controlled purchases of narcotics, also revealed that the drug trafficking organization had established a base of operation in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  The investigation subsequently identified a second drug trafficking network that involved the large-scale distribution of heroin.

During the investigation, Backman was identified as a supplier of heroin to members of the New Haven drug trafficking organization.  Backman was intercepted over multiple wiretaps discussing the acquisition of heroin from a supplier in New York for redistribution in and around New Haven.  On June 16, 2019, Backman sent a courier to pick up approximately 10,000 bags of heroin from a New York supplier.  The courier and another co-conspirator were arrested after the courier arrived with the drugs at a Hamden parking lot.

On July 9, 2019, a grand jury in New Haven returned a 15-count indictment charging Backman and 24 other individuals with various offenses.  Backman has been detained since his arrest on July 10, 2019.

Backman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, and offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.  He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny on January 13, 2020, in Hartford.

This matter is being investigated by the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force, New Haven Police Department, Milford Police Department, Hamden Police Department, East Haven Police Department, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut Department of Correction and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony E. Kaplan, Peter D. Markle and Elena L. Coronado.

Updated October 28, 2019

Drug Trafficking