Sixth Member of Violent New Haven Gang Pleads Guilty to Federal Racketeering and Firearm Charges
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DEJUAN WARD, also known as “Hot Boi,” 21, of New Haven, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to racketeering and firearm charges stemming from his role in a violent street gang.
According to statements made in court, the New Haven Police Department’s Shooting Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have been investigating approximately 40 unsolved shootings in New Haven and Hamden. Ballistic examination of recovered cartridge cases determined that three firearms were used in 18 shootings committed in or around New Haven in 2016. The investigation has revealed that the firearms were possessed by members and associates of the Goodrich Street Boys (“GSB”), a New Haven street gang, and that GSB members also were involved in a number of other shootings in 2016, many of them retaliatory against rival gang members.
On August 3, 2017, a grand jury in New Haven returned a 13-count indictment charging WARD and five other GSB members with racketeering, attempted murder, firearm and narcotics trafficking offenses. The indictment alleges that, between September 2015 and May 2016, GSB members and associates were involved in six gang-related shootings that caused injuries to five individuals.
WARD pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity and one count of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. In pleading guilty, WARD admitted that he and other GSB members sold drugs, and that he was present when a rival gang member was shot on September 17, 2015.
At sentencing, the government will present evidence that WARD was the shooter during this incident.
The charge of conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and the charge of possession of a firearm during an in relation to a crime of violence carries a mandatory consecutive prison term of five years.
WARD is detained pending sentencing. Judge Shea scheduled a sentencing hearing for November 28, 2018.
The other five defendants also have pleaded guilty and are detained while awaiting sentencing.
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.
This investigation is being conducted by ATF and the New Haven Police Department. The FBI, Hamden Police Department and New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office have provided critical assistance in the investigation.
An instrumental component of this 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 D. Markle, Rahul Kale and Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis.