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Press Release

Waterbury Gang Member Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison

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

JAIVAUN McKNIGHT, also known as “Sav,” 25, of Waterbury, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to 168 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for offenses related to his participation in 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 McKnight and 15 other 960 gang members with racketeering, narcotics trafficking, firearm possession, murder, attempted murder and assault, and obstruction of justice offenses.

On March 11, 2024, McKnight pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, attempted murder and assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.  McKnight admitted that he and other 960 members were engaged in violent activity, including shootings, assaults and attempted murders, and that he trafficked fentanyl and other drugs in furtherance of the 960 enterprise.  On September 21, 2018, in retaliation for the murder of an associate, McKnight and other 960 members attempted to murder a rival gang leader and others by shooting at an occupied residence on Scott Road in Waterbury.

McKnight has been detained since his arrest on September 16, 2021.  On that date, investigators seized approximately 600 bags of fentanyl from his vehicle.

This investigation has been conducted by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force, Waterbury Police Department, ATF, and U.S. Marshals Service, with the assistance of the Southington Police Department, Watertown Police Department, New Milford Police Department, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut Department of Correction, Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory, and the DEA Laboratory.  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 a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce gun violence and other violent crime, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  In May 2021, the Justice Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.  For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, please visit

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 June 27, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime