Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LIONEL GARDNER, also known as “Bleek,” 36, of Newington, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 96 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for narcotics distribution and gun possession offenses, and for violating the conditions of his supervised release from a prior federal conviction.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in October 2015, Gardner was released from federal prison after serving a 60-month sentence for distributing crack cocaine in Hartford. On November 21, 2018, while Gardner was on federal supervised release, he was arrested on state charges by Newington Police after he sold heroin/fentanyl to a customer, and a search of his residence revealed a large quantity of fentanyl and cocaine, a stolen Glock 10mm pistol, a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver, loaded magazines, and more than $55,000 in cash.
In August 2019, investigators made controlled purchases of fentanyl and crack from Gardner while he was released on bond in his state case. Gardner was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on August 14, 2019. On that date, a search of Gardner’s Newington residence revealed approximately 105 grams of powder cocaine, 3.4 grams of crack cocaine, 667 bags of fentanyl, 8.7 grams of loose fentanyl, and $4,000 in cash.
Gardner has been detained since his federal arrest. On December 17, 2020, he pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Gardner forfeited the seized firearms and cash.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force and the Newington Police Department. The task force includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, New Britain Police Department, West Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.
This prosecution has been brought through Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone.