Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
Indictment Alleges New Haven Gang Members Committed 2 Murders and 10 Attempted Murders
As a result of an investigation into gang-related drug trafficking and related violence in New Haven, a federal grand jury in Bridgeport has returned an indictment charging six alleged members and associates of the “Exit 8” street gang in New Haven with conspiring to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, including drug trafficking, murder, and attempted murder, as well as related offenses.
Today’s announcement was made by Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; John P. Doyle, Jr., State’s Attorney for the New Haven Judicial District; James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Boston Field Division; Robert Fuller, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England; and New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson.
The indictment, which was returned on March 22, charges
JAEDYN RIVERA, also known as “Jae Honcho,” 22
TYJON PRESTON, also known as “TJ,” 20
SAMUEL DOUGLAS, also known as “Blamm,” 24
QUAYMAR SUGGS, 19
KIVEON HYMAN, also known as “Tiny, ” 25
DONELL ALLICK, JR., also known as “D-Nice,” 24
The indictment was unsealed after Suggs and Hyman were arrested on March 24. On that date, they appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Spector in New Haven and were ordered detained. Preston has been detained in state custody since May 22, 2021, and Rivera, Douglas, and Allick have been detained in federal custody on previous charges.
As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, in an effort to address violence in New Haven, including murders and attempted murders, the ATF, FBI, DEA and New Haven Police Department, working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office, have been investigating an ongoing gang war between members and associates of the Exit 8 street gang and rival gangs in the Hill section and other areas of the city. The Exit 8 gang is named after the geographic area accessed by exiting Interstate 91 at Exit 8 in New Haven. Recently, younger members of Exit 8 are identifying themselves with the word “Honcho,” which is derived from the street name of an Exit 8 member who was murdered on Quinnipiac Avenue in February 2020.
The indictment alleges that members of the Exit 8 gang engaged in drug trafficking, used and shared firearms, and, since June 2018, have committed at least two murders and 10 attempted murders. Exit 8 members promoted, coordinated, facilitated, and celebrated their narcotics distribution and acts of violence through text messaging and the use of social media applications and websites including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
Among the violent acts committed by the Exit 8 gang, the indictment alleges that:
- On June 16, 2018, Douglas and Hyman shot and attempted to kill a member and associate of a rival gang, and shot another individual in the vicinity;
- On January 24, 2019, members and associates of the gang shot and attempted to kill a member and associate of a rival gang;
- On July 14, 2019, members and associates of the gang shot and attempted to kill a member and associate of a rival gang;
- On April 27, 2021, Preston and others shot and attempted to kill an individual;
- On May 3, 2021, Rivera shot and attempted to kill two members and associates of a rival gang;
- On May 10, 2021, members and associates of the gang shot and attempted to kill a member and associate of a rival gang, and shot another individual in the vicinity;
- On May 11, 2021, members and associates of the gang shot and attempted to kill rival gang members;
- On May 19, 2021, Suggs and others shot and killed a member and associate of a rival gang;
- On May 20, 2021, Rivera and Preston shot and attempted to kill rival gang members, and Rivera and others shot and attempted to kill two other individuals;
- On June 30, 2021, Preston shot and attempted to kill an individual;
- On September 16, 2022, Allick and others shot and killed an individual.
The indictment charges each defendant with racketeering conspiracy. If convicted of this charge, Suggs and Allick face a maximum term of imprisonment of 60 years, and Rivera, Preston, Douglas and Hyman face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
The indictment also charges Rivera and Preston with attempted assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder, in violation of the Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (“VCAR”) statute, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years; Rivera with VCAR assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder, and offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years; Rivera with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years; and Douglas with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and cocaine, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
“This investigation, and these charges, demonstrate the Justice Department’s ongoing commitment to provide substantial investigative resources and to work cooperatively with our local law enforcement partners to reduce gun violence in our cities,” said U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery. “Gun violence will not be tolerated. No child should have to live in a community overrun by gun violence, and no parent or other family member should have to live with the fear and trauma that such violence causes. That trauma is, needless to say, profound. The negative impact of gun violence on our cities is immeasurable. We know that in New Haven, and in other cities in Connecticut, a very small number of young men involved in gang activity are responsible for a large percentage of shootings and other mayhem that occur there. If you are engaging in gun violence in Connecticut, we will find you and bring you to justice.”
“This investigation and prosecution represents the hard work and shared ongoing commitment of federal, state and municipal partners in using all resources available to stem violent crime in our cities,” said New Haven State’s Attorney John P. Doyle, Jr.
“These arrests reflect the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) commitment to investigating and bringing to justice those who use firearms to terrorize our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge James M. Ferguson. “Our neighborhoods are safer today because of the diligent work done by ATF and our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners who remain dedicated to reduce gang violence and make our communities safer.”
“The individuals indicated and arrested in this case must now face the consequences for their alleged reign of violent and destructive behaviors in our community,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Fuller. “New Haven residents can rest assured that we are working to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods.”
“Drug trafficking, along with the violence that all too often accompanies it, is a serious threat to the safety and security of our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle. “Drug dealers and street gangs value their own profits over human life, and are responsible for fueling drug addiction and much of the violent crimes across New England. These crimes hold law abiding citizens of Connecticut hostage to drug-fueled lawlessness. This is unacceptable and will not be allowed to happen. DEA and its local, state and federal partners are dedicated to bringing to justice those that commit these crimes.”
“On behalf of the New Haven Police Department and the New Haven community we value our continued collaboration with the federal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson. “The events of the last few days show us that partnerships matter and that we can get justice for families when we work together. It is alleged that the group “EXIT 8” and the individuals who have been indicted have been responsible for violence for the past several years. This case will help make our community a safer place to live. I thank the ATF, FBI, DEA, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the continued partnership.”
This investigation is being conducted by ATF, the FBI, the DEA, the New Haven Police Department, and the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office, with the assistance of the Connecticut State Police and the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tara E. Levens, Rahul Kale and Jocelyn C. Kaoutzanis.
This prosecution is a part of the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), Project Longevity and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) programs.
PSN is a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Longevity is a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence in Connecticut’s major cities. Through Project Longevity, community members and law enforcement directly engage with members of groups that are prone to commit violence and deliver a community message against violence, a law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence and an offer of help for those who want it. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.