U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Connecticut
Connecticut Financial Center
157 Church Street
New Haven, Connecticut 06510
For Immediate Release
February 25, 2009
Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney
Contact: Tom Carson, Public Information Office
(203) 996-1393 (cell)
Project Safe Neighborhoods:
Windsor Man Sentenced to 33 Months in Federal Prison for Attempting to Tamper With Grand Jury Witness
Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that CRAIG HAWKINS, also known as “G,” 37, of Bloomfield Avenue, Windsor, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 33 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for attempting to persuade a witness not to testify against his brother in a federal grand jury proceeding. On November 5, 2008, HAWKINS pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice.
According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, on April 27, 2007, HAWKINS’ brother, Shaun Hawkins, also known as “Chet” and “Debo,” was arrested with Horace Vasquez, also known as “Herm,” by the Hartford Police Department for their alleged participation in a violent home invasion robbery at an apartment located at 161 Martin Street in Hartford. During the robbery, armed and masked individuals forcibly entered the apartment with the specific purpose of robbing the occupants and stealing their vehicle, a 2007 Range Rover. During the course of the robbery, at least one victim was knocked unconscious when he was pistol-whipped, and several victims were robbed of personal property, including jewelry, wallets and money.
Following the arrests, a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford began an investigation into possible violations of federal firearms laws as well as the Hobbs Act, which prohibits the use or threatened use of physical violence to affect interstate commerce. Shaun Hawkins, while incarcerated in a Connecticut Department of Correction facility following his arrest, enlisted the assistance of CRAIG HAWKINS to pay a witness to the home invasion not to appear before the grand jury, or to tell the grand jury that Shaun was not involved in the home invasion.
On October 28, 2008, Shaun Hawkins pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice. He awaits sentencing.
Vasquez pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon stemming from his participation in the home invasion, and in Hartford Superior Court to conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, and robbery in the first degree. On September 17, 2008, he was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 10 years of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. Vasquez also was sentenced in Hartford Superior Court to 20 years of imprisonment, suspended after 10 years, followed by three years of probation.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Major Crimes Division of the Hartford Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian P. Leaming.
The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, and improving the safety of residents in Connecticut’s cities. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.