DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Connecticut

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
John H. Durham
, United States Attorney
Contact: Tom Carson

13 Men Charged with Federal Gun Offenses through Harford Project Safe Neighborhoods Program

U.S. Attorney John H. Durham, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement officials, today announced that 13 men have been charged with federal offenses related to the illegal possession of firearms in Hartford.  These prosecutions have been brought though Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone.

“Through Project Safe Neighborhoods in Hartford, the U.S. Attorney’s Office works closely with the Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office, Hartford Police Department, FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Gang Task Force and ATF to reduce gun violence in Hartford by identifying firearm cases that are appropriate for federal prosecution,” said U.S. Attorney Durham.  “All of the individuals whose cases we’re announcing today have criminal histories that prevent them from possessing guns legally.  Illegal guns and the violence they bring are a plague on our cities, and our office is committed to working with our law enforcement counterparts to remove these guns and the individuals who possess them from the community into order to reduce violent crime.”

“The Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our federal partners to ensure that those who cannot lawfully possess firearms are apprehended and prosecuted – whether it be in federal or state court,” said Hartford State’s Attorney Gail P. Hardy.  “We are committed to making Hartford a safe place to live, work and visit.”

“The Hartford Police Department continues to work closely with our federal and state partners to reduce crime and keep our communities safe,” said Hartford Assistant Police Chief Rafael Medina, III.  “We are committed to identifying and apprehending those violent offenders who are in illegal possession of firearms so they can be prosecuted to the fullest.”

“The significance of these cases on the Hartford community cannot be overstated,” said Erin Joe, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  “The use of our collective law enforcement resources has again proved to be imperative in the fight to reduce the dissemination of guns and gun violence in the community.  The individuals charged through the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative are alleged to have demonstrated their disregard for the rule of law and must now face the consequences in federal court.”

“ATF’s top priority is combating violent crime and keeping firearms out of the hands of violent offenders,” said Mickey D. Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Boston Field Division.  “These charges are another example of the importance of law enforcement partnerships and their effectiveness in protecting our communities.”

It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

RAFAEL ARROYO, 33, of Hartford, is charged by indictment with one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  It is alleged that, on July 26, 2018, a court-authorized search of Arroyo’s Broad Street apartment revealed distribution quantities of heroin and cocaine, a Star S.A. 9mm semiautomatic pistol, an H&R “Sportsman” .22 caliber long rifle revolver, a Group Industries 9mm firearm, and assorted ammunition.  Arroyo’s criminal history includes state felony convictions for drug and firearm offenses.  Arroyo has been detained since his arrest on July 26 and the indictment was returned today.

O’SHANE CROSS, 30, of Hartford, is charged by indictment with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  The indictment alleges that, on July 19, 2018, Cross possessed a loaded Hi-Point Model JCP .40 caliber pistol.  The firearm was found in a search of CROSS’s bedroom after he discussed selling other guns to an informant.  In January 2010, Cross was convicted in state court of a burglary offense.  Cross has been detained since his arrest on July 19.

CRAIG GODWIN, 31, of Hartford, is charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The complaint alleges that, on June 3, 2018, Hartford Police encountered Godwin in his car after a traffic accident on Main Street in Hartford.  Godwin possessed a loaded .40 caliber Astra A75 handgun.  The firearm had been reported stolen during a burglary in Hartford in September 2017.  Godwin’s criminal history includes convictions in state court for weapons, narcotics, escape and risk of injury offenses.  Godwin is currently detained in state custody.

RAKEEM GRANT, 29, of Hartford, is charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The complaint alleges that, on April 23, 2018, Grant possessed a loaded .40 caliber Smith & Wesson SD40 VE handgun outside of nightclub that is a hotspot for shootings and violence on Main Street in Hartford.  In April 2017, Grant was convicted in state court of possession of a pistol without a permit.  Grant is currently detained in state custody.

CLETUS JONES, 38, of Hartford, is charged by indictment with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  It is alleged that, on January 23, 2018, Jones attempted to hide a loaded Taurus model PT738 .38 caliber semi-automatic handgun in Elizabeth Park after being involved in a motor vehicle accident in Hartford’s West End.  Laboratory analysis of the seized firearm revealed Jones’s DNA.  Jones’s criminal history includes convictions in state court for narcotics, larceny, robbery and carjacking offenses.  Jones was arrested federally on August 2 and the indictment was returned today.  He is detained.

ENRIQUE LUCIANO, 31, of Hartford, is charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The complaint alleges that, on June 4, 2018, Luciano pulled out a gun and pointed it at plainclothes Hartford Police detectives investigating drug activity on Cabot Street.  After the detectives identified themselves as police officers, Luciano fled and discarded the firearm.  Luciano was apprehended and the firearm, a loaded 9mm Taurus PT 908 with an obliterated serial number, was recovered.  In August 2017, Luciano was convicted in state court of possession of narcotics.  Luciano is currently detained in state custody.

AARON PEARSON, 27, of Hartford, is charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The complaint alleges that, on March 28, 2018, Pearson appeared in a Facebook Live video brandishing a black semi-automatic handgun that had a Hoffman’s Gun Center tag hanging from its trigger.  Investigators obtained documents from Hoffman’s that showed the firearm, a Taurus PT 738 .380 caliber handgun, had been purchased by another individual who also appeared in the Facebook Live video.  Investigators recovered the firearm from Pearson’s residence on April 12, 2018.  In February 2012, Pearson was convicted in state court of carrying a pistol without a permit.  Pearson is currently detained in state custody. 

ANTHONY PENA, 24, of Hartford, is charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The complaint alleges that, on June 24, 2018, Pena placed a backpack containing a firearm into a vehicle in the vicinity of 862 Albany Avenue.  A search of the vehicle revealed loaded Glock 21 .45 caliber firearm.  The firearm had been reported stolen in North Carolina in 2012.  In May 2012, Pena was convicted in state court of robbery in the first degree.  Pena is currently detained in state custody.

NOEL PEREZ, 21, of Hartford, is charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The complaint alleges that, on May 29, 2018, Hartford Police stopped a vehicle Perez was driving on Wadsworth Street.  A search of the vehicle revealed a loaded Sig Sauer P2022 .40 caliber handgun.  Perez’s criminal history includes convictions in state court for assault, burglary and larceny offenses.  Perez is currently detained in state custody.

KELVIN PETERS, 41 of Hartford, is charged by indictment with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  It is alleged that, on May 9, 2018, Enfield Police stopped a car that was being operating erratically.  A search of the car revealed two loaded firearms, a Bersa Thunder 380 handgun and a High Point Model C9 9mm pistol with an obliterated serial number.  Peters’ criminal history includes multiple convictions in state court for drug offenses, and a 2004 federal conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Peters was arrested federally on August 1 and the indictment was returned today.  He is detained.

MARVIN PORTER, 26, of East Hartford, is charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The complaint alleges that, on June 24, 2018, after officers approached a group of men in the vicinity of 862 Albany Avenue, Porter attempted to run away.  After Porter was apprehended, a search of his person revealed a loaded Beretta model 21A-22LR handgun and a quantity of crack cocaine.  In April 2007, Porter was convicted in state court of sexual assault in the first degree.  Porter was arrested federally on August 2 and he is released on bond.

ISIAH SHIPMAN, 28, of Bloomfield, is charged by indictment with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  It is alleged that, on April 14, 2018, SHIPMAN ran from Hartford Police officers that had responded to a report of a street fight in the area of Essex Street and Maple Avenue.  After officers apprehended Shipman, a search of his person revealed a loaded Smith and Wesson .40 caliber handgun.  The gun had been reported stolen in Hartford in August 2016.  Shipman’s criminal history includes state felony convictions for narcotics and assault offenses.  Shipman has been detained since his federal arrest on August 2, and the indictment was returned today.

BENICIO VASQUEZ, 32, of Hartford, is charged by indictment with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  The indictment alleges that, on July 19, 2018, Vasquez possessed a Taurus .357 caliber revolver loaded with six rounds of ammunition.  Vasquez’s criminal history includes state felony convictions for drug and money laundering offenses.  Vasquez has been detained since his arrest on July 19.

The charge of possession of a firearm and/or ammunition by a previously convicted felon carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.  The charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime carries a mandatory consecutive term of imprisonment of at least five years.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that charges are not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson, PSN Program Coordinator; Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas Morabito, Ray Miller, Anastasia King and Jennifer Laraia, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Fahey of the Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office.

###

Field Division: Boston Field Division