For Immediate Release
Member of Violent Bridgeport Gang Pleads Guilty
JAUWAN EDWARDS, also known as “Yaya,” 25, of Bridgeport, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to a racketeering offense stemming from his involvement in a violent Bridgeport street gang.
Today’s announcement was made by Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Joseph T. Corradino, State’s Attorney for the Fairfield Judicial District; Bridgeport Police Chief Roderick Porter; Robert Fuller, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Boston Field Division; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, and Acting U.S. Marshal Lawrence Bobnick.
According to court documents and statements made in court, the FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, Connecticut State Police and Bridgeport Police have been investigating multiple Bridgeport-based gangs whose members are involved in narcotics trafficking, murder and other acts of violence. Edwards was a member of the Original North End (“O.N.E.”), a gang based in the Trumbull Gardens area of Bridgeport that committed acts of violence against rival gangs, including the East End gang, the East Side gang, and the PT Barnum gang. O.N.E. members also robbed drug dealers, customers and others, sold narcotics, and stole cars from inside and outside Connecticut, often using the cars to commit crimes. They frequently used social media to promote and coordinate their criminal activities.
Analysis of numerous social media posts and text messages revealed that Edwards possessed firearms, and that he sold a variety of drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, crack, Percocet pills, and marijuana. Edwards also participated with other O.N.E. members in the theft and possession of stolen vehicles, including a Lexus Rx350 that was stolen from Rye, New York.
In early December 2019, O.N.E. members were involved in multiple shots-fired incidents in Bridgeport. In one incident, the mother of two East End gang members was shot outside of her Bridgeport home. In another incident, on December 8, 2019, O.N.E. members used the stolen Lexus in a shooting incident at the P.T. Barnum Housing Complex, and then drove it to Newfield Avenue in Bridgeport, considered the turf of the East End/East Side gang, where they shot and killed Ty’Quess Moore, also known as “Breezo,” 18.
Edwards has been detained since his arrest on July 27, 2021.
Edwards pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. Judge Dooley scheduled sentencing for September 27.
This investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Safe Streets and Violent Crimes Task Forces, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, Bridgeport Police Department, Connecticut State Police and the Bridgeport State’s Attorney’s Office, with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory and the Naugatuck Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen L. Peck, Tara E. Levens, Patrick J. Doherty, 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 the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
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. If a group member elects to engage in gun violence, the focused attention of federal, state and local law enforcement will be directed at that entire group.
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.