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Press Release

Waterbury Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Multiple Federal Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

EZRA ALVES, also known as “EJ” and “Ezzy,” 23, of Waterbury, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to offenses stemming from his participation in the 960 gang, a violent Waterbury street gang.

Today’s announcement was made by Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Maureen T. Platt, State’s Attorney for the Waterbury Judicial District; Robert Fuller, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Boston Field Division; and Waterbury Police Chief Fernando C. Spagnolo.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in an effort to address drug trafficking and related violence in Waterbury, the FBI, ATF, and Waterbury Police have been investigating multiple Waterbury-based groups, including the 960 gang.  On September 14, 2021, a federal grand jury in Hartford returned a 36-count indictment charging Alves and 15 other alleged 960 gang members with racketeering, narcotics trafficking, firearm possession, murder, attempted murder and assault, and obstruction of justice offenses.

Alves pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, three counts of attempted murder and assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, two counts of carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, controlled substances.

Alves specifically admitted that he and other 960 members were engaged in drug trafficking and violent activity, and conspired to shoot and murder members of rival gangs, including:

  • On September 21, 2018, in retaliation for the murder of an associate, Alves and other 960 members participated in a drive-by shooting of an occupied residences on Scott Road in Waterbury.
  • On October 6, 2018, in a drive-by shooting, Alves and other gang members attempted to murder individuals believed to be members of a rival gang, which resulted in gunshot wounds to an individual.
  • On November 18, 2018, Alves and other gang members participated in a drive-by shooting of rival gang members, which resulted in gunshot wounds to two individuals.

Judge Dooley scheduled sentencing for June 18, 2024, at which time Alves faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 17 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.

Alves has been detained since November 15, 2019.

This investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force, ATF, and Waterbury Police Department, with the assistance of the Watertown Police Department, New Milford Police Department and Connecticut Department of Correction.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Geoffrey M. Stone, John T. Pierpont, Jr. and Natasha M. Freismuth, and Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Don E. Therkildesen, Jr. and Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney Alexandra Arroyo of the Waterbury State’s Attorney’s Office, who have been cross-designated as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys in this matter.

This prosecution is a part of the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) programs.

PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.  Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Updated March 20, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime