U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Connecticut
Connecticut Financial Center
157 Church Street
New Haven, Connecticut 06510
For Immediate Release
January 15, 2010
Contact: Tom Carson, Public Information Officer
(203) 996-1393 (cell)
Project Safe Neighborhoods:
Bridgeport Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun and Drug Charges
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that GEORGE MORALES, 47, formerly of Park Street, Bridgeport, pleaded guilty yesterday, January 14, before United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, and one count of distribution of heroin.
This matter stems from “Operation Young Gunz,” a Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation conducted by members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bridgeport Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Marshals Service. The investigation, which included numerous purchases of firearms, heroin and crack cocaine, 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.
On April 2, 2009, while executing a state arrest warrant at MORALES’ residence, law enforcement officers observed MORALES exiting a bathroom carrying a plastic bag, which he then threw in a closet. After MORALES was taken into custody, officers seized 70 blue folds of heroin from his closet. MORALES then gave officers a key to a safe in the closet, which contained a .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol with an obliterated serial number, a magazine containing five rounds of Remington .380 caliber ammunition, and $5,775 in cash. Inside the residence, officers also found 10 blue folds of heroin in the toilet, and 20 blue folds of heroin and a baggy that contained marijuana in a kitchen cabinet.
Prion to April 2009, MORALES sustained several felony convictions in Connecticut Superior Court. It is a violation of federal law for a convicted felon to possess a firearm that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.
Judge Droney has scheduled sentencing for April 2, 2010, at which time MORALES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to 250,000 on the gun charge, and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million on the heroin distribution charge.
MORALES has been detained since his arrest on April 2, 2009.
This case was investigated by the Bridgeport Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Felice Duffy as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative.
The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, ammunition and body armor, and improving the safety of residents of Connecticuts cities. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.