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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, March 11, 2024

Waterbury Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Multiple Federal Offenses

JAIVAUN McKNIGHT, also known as “Sav,” 25, of Waterbury, pleaded guilty today in Bridgeport federal court to multiple offenses stemming from his participation in the 960 gang, a violent Waterbury street gang.

Today’s announcement was made by Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Maureen T. Platt, State’s Attorney for the Waterbury Judicial District; 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; and Waterbury Police Chief Fernando C. Spagnolo.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in an effort to address drug trafficking and related violence in Waterbury, the FBI, ATF, and Waterbury Police have been investigating multiple Waterbury-based groups, including the 960 gang.  On September 14, 2021, a federal grand jury in Hartford returned a 36-count indictment charging McKnight and 15 other alleged 960 gang members with racketeering, narcotics trafficking, firearm possession, murder, attempted murder and assault, and obstruction of justice offenses.

McKnight pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of attempted murder and assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, one count of carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.

McKnight specifically admitted that he and other 960 members were engaged in violent activity, including shootings, assaults and attempted murders, and that he trafficked drugs in furtherance of the 960 enterprise.  On September 21, 2018, in retaliation for the murder of an associate, McKnight and other 960 members attempted to murder individuals by shooting at an occupied residence on Scott Road in Waterbury.

McKnight has been detained since his arrest on September 16, 2021.  He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley on June 12, at which time he faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.

This investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force, ATF, and Waterbury Police Department, with the assistance of the Watertown Police Department, New Milford Police Department and Connecticut Department of Correction.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Geoffrey M. Stone, John T. Pierpont, Jr. and Natasha M. Freismuth, and Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Don E. Therkildesen, Jr. and Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney Alexandra Arroyo of the Waterbury State’s Attorney’s Office, who have been cross-designated as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys in this matter.

This prosecution is a part of the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) 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.

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


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