ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Connecticut Financial Center
157 Church Street
New Haven, Connecticut 06510

www.justice.gov/usao/ct

For Immediate Release

April 2, 2009

Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney

Contact: Tom Carson, Public Information Office

(203) 821-3722

(203) 996-1393 (cell)

Project Safe Neighborhoods:
Joint Gun and Drug Investigation in Bridgeport Results in Nine Arrests

Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Jonathan C. Benedict, State’s Attorney for the Fairfield Judicial District, today announced that nine Bridgeport residents were arrested this morning on various firearms and narcotics charges stemming from Operation “Young Gunz,” a Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation conducted by members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bridgeport Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service.

Earlier today, law enforcement executed arrest warrants on two individuals for federal firearms and narcotics offenses, and on seven individuals for state firearms and narcotics offenses. The warrants were the result of an eight-month undercover investigation into firearms and narcotics trafficking in the Marina Village Housing Complex on Bridgeport’s West Side and the surrounding area. Several targets of the investigation are alleged members of the “Staq Boyz” street gang within the Marina Village Housing Complex. The investigation included numerous purchases of firearms, heroin and crack cocaine by undercover personnel under the direction of ATF and the Bridgeport Police. The investigation also targeted young, repeat offenders who are alleged to have sold and conspired to sell firearms for profit. Analysis of the firearms purchased during this investigation has revealed that several of the firearms were reported stolen and/or have been used in other crimes.

A federal Indictment charges ALFONSO REID, also known as “Fonzie” or “Fonz,” 32, of Hancock Avenue, Bridgeport, with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, and five counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin. If convicted, REID could face a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life for the firearms violation, and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million for each of the narcotics violations.

A separate federal Indictment charges HECTOR TORRES, also known as “Angel,” 18, of Railroad Avenue, Bridgeport, with one count of unlawful dealing in firearms, and one count of possession of unregistered sawed-off shotguns/rifles. If convicted, TORRES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on the first count and 10 years on the second count.

The State’s Attorney has charged the seven individuals arrested this morning with various state firearms and narcotics violations.

Acting U.S. Attorney Dannehy and Acting Bridgeport Chief of Police Joseph Gaudett commended the law enforcement agents and officers who conducted the investigation and praised their devoted efforts to identify and prosecute individuals engaged in illegal use of firearms and narcotics trafficking in Bridgeport.

This joint investigation and prosecution clearly shows that our federal, state and local law enforcement partners are committed to the success of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative in Bridgeport, Acting U.S. Attorney Dannehy stated. I want to thank all of the law enforcement agents and officers involved in this investigation and today’s arrests, and the Fairfield State’s Attorney’s Office for making PSN work. Their dedicated efforts are helping to make Bridgeport’s communities safe.

Today’s arrests are a reflection of the coordinated efforts by the federal and state governments to address gun violence in Bridgeport, Acting Bridgeport Chief Gaudett stated. This operation is a direct result of the hard work of the ATF Task Force — which includes two detectives from the Bridgeport Detective Bureau — the Bridgeport Police Department and the DEA. This investigation is particularly significant because it targets young offenders. Statistics show that younger individuals have been increasingly responsible for much of the gun violence in Bridgeport.

Acting United States Attorney Nora R. Dannehy stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial at which it is the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bridgeport Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Marshals Service. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Felice Duffy and Assistant State’s Attorney Craig Nowak.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, and improving the safety of residents in Connecticut’s cities. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

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