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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Connecticut

For Immediate Release

Thursday, October 5, 2017
Deirdre M. Daly
, United States Attorney
Contact: Tom Carson

Gang Member Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for 2011 Murder

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that TREVOR MURPHY, also known as “Snookie,” 29, of West Haven, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 360 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for murdering Joseph Zargo on December 23, 2011.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in January 2014, ATF and the New Haven Police Department began “Operation Red Side” through a series of controlled narcotics purchases and firearms seizures.  The investigation revealed that members and associates of the Red Side Guerilla Brims (“RSGB”), a sect of the Bloods street gang based in New Haven, were engaged in narcotics trafficking and related acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, assaults and armed robberies.  In addition to distributing crack cocaine and other narcotics in and around New Haven, the investigation indicated that members and associates of the RSGB, under the direction of Jeffrey Benton and others, transported the drugs to Bangor, Maine, and sold them in Bangor and its surrounding communities.  The RSGB also traded narcotics for firearms, brought the firearms back to New Haven and distributed them to gang members.

MURPHY was a member of RSGB.  According to court documents and statements made in court, MURPHY ordered a quantity of ecstasy from Joseph Zargo as part of a plan to rob him of drugs and cash.  Just after midnight on December 23, 2011, MURPHY met Zargo on Houston Street in New Haven.  After MURPHY took ecstasy pills from Zargo, MURPHY pulled out a firearm.  When Zargo reached into his pocket, MURPHY shot Zargo once in the chest.  Zargo died later that morning.

MURPHY has been detained since his arrest on September 30, 2015.  On February 8, 2017, he pleaded guilty to one count of interference with commerce by robbery, and one count of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

As a result of this investigation, 21 members and associates of the RSGB were convicted of federal charges in Connecticut and Maine.  The investigation has resolved seven murder cases, four attempted murders and four armed robberies that occurred in 2011 and 2012.

On October 4, 2017, Benton was sentenced to 480 months of imprisonment.

U.S. Attorney Daly noted that federal prisoners are required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentenced term of imprisonment and are not eligible for parole.

This investigation has been conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the New Haven Police Department, the Connecticut Department of Correction, the Connecticut State Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Hamden Police Department.  The New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office also provided critical assistance in the investigation.

An instrumental component of the investigation has been the work of the Connecticut State Crime Laboratory in utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) to analyze ballistics evidence.

This matter is being prosecuted in the District of Connecticut by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Spector, Peter Markle and Jocelyn Kaoutzanis.  A related case in the District of Maine is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey.

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Field Division: Boston Field Division