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Press Release

Dorchester Man Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison for Attempting to Kill Suspected Federal Witness

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

BOSTON – A Dorchester man was sentenced late yesterday on charges of tampering with a witness by attempting to kill him.

“Mr. Casanova attempted to take a man’s life in order to ensure his silence,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.  “Witness tampering not only impacts a criminal case, it shakes the very core of our justice system.  Witnesses play a critical role in the government’s ability to hold criminals accountable and often times bring closure to victims.  This sentence demonstrates the strength of the legal system to hold violent individuals accountable for their crimes.” 

“Attempting to coerce the legal system through intimidation and murder has very serious consequences, as Mr. Casanova is now finding out,” said Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Boston.  “Thankfully Mr. Casanova’s attempt to silence what he thought was a federal witness to the criminal activities of this notorious gang failed. HSI remains vigilant and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to track down criminals such as this and protect those who come forward to assist law enforcement.”

Jaquan Casanova a/k/a “Cass,” “Joffe,” “Joffy,” and “Joffy Joe,” 24, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper to 28 years in prison and five years of supervised release.  In June 2016, he was convicted by a federal jury following a seven-day trial of tampering with a witness by attempting to kill him and lying to a federal agent about his involvement in a sex trafficking ring. 

On April 30, 2013, Casanova shot Darian Thomson (“Bo”) in the head at close range to prevent him from communicating with federal law enforcement officers.  Casanova was a member of a multi-state criminal organization led by Raymond Jeffreys that was involved in sex trafficking, drug trafficking, and fraudulent check cashing.  In March 2013, Thomson was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges while in custody in New Jersey on unrelated state charges.  In April 2013, Thomson was released and returned to Boston, where Casanova attempted to kill him.  Jeffreys and other members of the criminal organization erroneously believed that Thomson had been released as a result of his cooperation with federal law enforcement, and that he would continue to provide information about their criminal activities. 

From 2006 to May 2014, Jeffreys and other members of his organization trafficked women and minor girls in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Nevada, Georgia, Florida and California.  Jeffreys targeted vulnerable girls and women, including those who were poor and homeless, drug addicted, and those who were already working as prostitutes.  Jeffreys used a variety of techniques to persuade and manipulate the women, including making promises about providing for them and their children, and then only doing so if the women performed acts of prostitution.  He also used a variety of techniques to control the girls and women, including threatening that he would kill them.  Jeffreys also taught other men how to engage in sex trafficking and worked with other men as “pimp partners” or “p partners” to share resources, such as car rides, hotel rooms, and payment for online advertisements.

On May 19, 2016, Jeffreys was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to sex trafficking and conspiring to tamper with a witness by attempting to kill him.

U.S. Attorney Ortiz; SAC Etre; and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, made the announcement.  The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Boston Police Department’s Human Trafficking and Homicide Units and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Harman Burkart and David D’Addio of Ortiz’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David S. Bradley from the Suffolk County D.A.’s Office.


Updated October 28, 2016

Human Trafficking
Violent Crime