New Haven Men Charged with Illegal Gun Possession
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Patrick Griffin, State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of New Haven; New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes; David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Boston Field Division, and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, announced that DENZEL SUGGS, 26, and JAQUAN GRAY, 26, both of New Haven, have been arrested on federal criminal complaints charging each with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Suggs was arrested on August 28 and Gray was arrested earlier today. Both are detained.
These prosecutions are part of a coordinated federal, state and local law enforcement effort to address rising gun violence in New Haven. Participating in this effort are the New Haven Police Department; the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, on July 31, 2020, law enforcement received information that several members of the “Exit 8” group were in possession of firearms near the entrance of the Essex Townhouses complex at 1134 Quinnipiac Avenue in New Haven. Members of the New Haven Police and the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force entered the housing complex at approximately 10 p.m. and identified several Exit 8 members. Suggs and Gray ran from the scene as law enforcement arrived and ignored commands to stop. Both were quickly apprehended. A search of Suggs’ person revealed a loaded Taurus PT-22, .22 caliber firearm, and a search of a fanny pack Gray was wearing revealed a loaded Smith and Wesson Model 469, 9mm firearm, which had been reported stolen in Hamden in 2018.
It is further alleged that both Suggs and Gray have been previously convicted of state weapon and drug felony 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.
Suggs appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam in New Haven for a detention hearing. During the hearing, the government presented evidence alleging that Suggs was present during a homicide that occurred on August 15, 2020, in New Haven.
The charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Stolfi Collins.
U.S. Attorney Durham noted that this prosecution is a part of the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program and Project Longevity. PSN is a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. 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.