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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 6, 2023

Waterbury Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Federal Prison for Gun Offense

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DOUGLAS LARA, also known as “Spaz,” 25, of Waterbury, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 48 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for illegally possessing a firearm.

According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from an ongoing investigation into gangs, drug trafficking and the illegal possession of firearms in Waterbury. On May 6, 2021, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police attempted to apprehend Lara after he had driven a stolen 2021 Mercedes Benz SUV to a garage at the Foxwoods Resort Casino. As Lara ran from police, he discarded a loaded 9mm handgun with an obliterated serial number, keys to the stolen SUV, and a backpack that contained 9mm ammunition. Officers arrested Lara and subsequently seized the items he discarded.

Lara’s criminal history includes felony state convictions, including multiple larceny convictions related to the theft of vehicles, and a conviction related to a shooting incident. 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.

Lara has been detained since his arrest. On October 27, 2022, he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Connecticut State Police; the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police; the Waterbury Police Department; the Wolcott Police Department; and the Connecticut Department of Correction. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Natasha M. Freismuth and John T. Pierpont, Jr.

U.S. Attorney Avery thanked the State’s Attorney’s Office for the Judicial District of Waterbury for its close cooperation in investigating and prosecuting this matter.

The prosecution is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In May 2021, the Justice Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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