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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Connecticut
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, February 27, 2023

South Carolina Man Who Trafficked Guns Into Connecticut Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MARQUIS JEROME POLLARD, 42, of Yemassee, South Carolina, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 96 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for firearm offenses related to an illegal gun trafficking operation.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in the spring of 2021, ATF Task Force officers learned that Pollard used straw purchasers to obtain firearms in South Carolina, and sold the firearms in Connecticut.  On April 19, 2021, investigators made a controlled purchase of a 9mm Glock handgun and a drum magazine from Pollard and Quinn Mooring in New Haven in exchange for $1,500.  The firearm was one of five 9mm handguns that had been purchased by an individual at a pawn shop in Port Royal, South Carolina, in the month prior to the transaction in Connecticut.

On May 3, 2021, investigators surveilled the firearm purchaser as he picked up two additional handguns from the Port Royal firearm dealer and traveled to a restaurant parking lot in Beaufort, South Carolina, where he transferred them to Pollard.  When law enforcement attempted to arrest Pollard, he fled in his vehicle at a high rate of speed.  Pollard drove on sidewalks and over curbs during the pursuit, and was eventually apprehended in a residential neighborhood after abandoning his car and attempting to flee on foot.  Investigators recovered three firearms from his vehicle, including the two handguns that he received in the restaurant parking lot, and a loaded .40 caliber pistol with a 30-round magazine.

The investigation revealed that Pollard paid two separate straw purchasers to acquire at least 17 firearms for him.  In addition to the two handguns that were seized from Pollard’s vehicle and the 9mm handgun that investigators purchased from Pollard in New Haven in April 2021, five additional firearms have been recovered by law enforcement.  One was recovered from a felon in New Haven in June 2021; one was recovered from the scene of a shooting in Hamden; one was recovered after it was used in a shooting in New Haven; one was recovered from a juvenile in South Carolina after it had been used in multiple crimes; and one was recovered earlier this month in Hamden from an individual who was fleeing from law enforcement in possession of the firearm and a distribution quantity of crack cocaine.  Nine firearms have not been recovered.

Pollard’s criminal history includes multiple felony convictions.  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.

Pollard was charged by indictments in both the District of Connecticut and in the District of South Carolina.  The South Carolina case was transferred to Connecticut for further prosecution.

Pollard has been detained since his arrest.  On October 28, 2022, he pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

On January 13, 2022, Mooring, of New Haven, pleaded guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon.  He awaits sentencing.

The individuals who purchased firearms for Pollard in South Carolina were charged and convicted in the District of South Carolina.

This matter has been investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), West Haven Police Department, New Haven Police Department, Beaufort Police Department, and Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.  These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Konstantin Lantsman.  The South Carolina case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Carra J. Henderson in the District of South Carolina.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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.


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