For Immediate Release
Waterbury Gang Member Admits Role in Shootings That Killed and Wounded Innocent Bystanders
U.S. Attorney John H. Durham, Waterbury State’s Attorney Maureen Platt, ATF Boston Field Division Special Agent in Charge Kelly D. Brady, FBI New Haven Division Special Agent in Charge Brian C. Turner, and Waterbury Police Chief Fernando C. Spagnolo, announced that JERMAINE GILBERT, 21, of Waterbury, pleaded guilty on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to racketeering, firearm possession and drug trafficking offenses stemming from his participation in a violent Waterbury street gang.
According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from a long-term investigation into drug trafficking and numerous acts of violence being committed by members of “960,” a street gang operating in Waterbury’s north end. During the investigation, ATF, FBI and Waterbury Police investigators have analyzed dozens of shooting incidents between 960 members and members of rival gangs. Some of the shootings resulted in innocent bystanders being killed or seriously wounded.
In pleading guilty, Gilbert, a member of 960, admitted that he and other members and associates of 960 engaged in narcotics distribution and acts of violence, including murder and assaults. Gilbert specifically admitted that, on October 6, 2018, he and other 960 members intended to shoot a rival gang member who they believed had been disrespectful to 960, but instead wounded an innocent bystander. On October 11, 2018, Gilbert and his associates conspired to shoot another rival gang member, but instead killed an innocent bystander and paralyzed a second innocent bystander. On November 18, 2018, Gilbert and other 960 members shot and wounded the rival gang member who was their intended target on October 6, 2018. During this shooting, another innocent bystander was wounded.
Gilbert has been detained since his arrest on May 17, 2019. At the time of his arrest, he possessed a .22 caliber Beretta pistol, a 9mm Taurus pistol, multiple rounds of ammunition, and heroin that he intended to distribute.
Gilbert pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of life, one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which carries a mandatory consecutive prison term of at least five years.
“Through a reinvigorated Project Safe Neighborhoods program in Waterbury, the ATF, FBI and Waterbury Police have identified several reckless gang members who wreaked havoc in the city and killed or maimed not only each other, but, more important, multiple innocent bystanders,” said U.S. Attorney Durham. “I thank our law enforcement partners, specifically Chief Spagnolo, for their committed efforts, and the Waterbury State’s Attorney for agreeing to bring the force of both the state and federal justice systems to help put an end to this mindless violence and remove these bad actors from the community for a long time. Clearly, this investigation is ongoing.”
“The Waterbury State’s Attorney’s Office would like to express their gratitude to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the federal law enforcement agencies involved for their hard work and commitment in helping to end the violence brought about by gang activity in this area,” said Waterbury State’s Attorney Platt. “We would also like to commend the professionalism and dedication of the Waterbury Police Department in this multi-agency investigation and prosecution.”
“ATF will continue working with our local, state and federal law enforcement counterparts to vigorously combat drug traffickers and the threat they pose to our citizens by illegally possessing firearms in furtherance of their illegal drug trade,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Brady. “This is another example of ATF’s commitment to rid our communities of dangerous criminals, drugs and illegal firearms.”
“The Waterbury Police Department and all of the law enforcement partners have done a phenomenal job in rooting out those members of a violent street gang responsible for the senseless shootings of innocent residents of the community,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Turner. “We at the FBI are committed to assisting Waterbury Police in every way possible to destroy gang-related crimes in and round the city.”
“The Waterbury Police Department is proud of its partnerships with the ATF and FBI and appreciative of the strong support from the U.S. Attorney and Waterbury State’s Attorney and the members of their respective offices,” said Waterbury Police Chief Spagnolo. “These committed partnerships are the backbone in making our community a safer place and keeping it that way through targeting violent crime problems in our City, along with education and community outreach.”
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Waterbury Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael J. Gustafson, Patrick F. Caruso and Natasha M. Freismuth, and Assistant State’s Attorneys Cynthia S. Serafini and Don E. Therkildsen, who have been cross designated as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys in this matter.
This prosecution has been brought through 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.