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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Connecticut Financial Center
157 Church Street
New Haven, Connecticut 06510

For Immediate Release

August 12, 2010

Contact: Tom Carson, Public Information Officer
(203) 821-3722
(203) 996-1393 (cell)

Project Safe Neighborhoods: New Haven Man Sentenced to 57 Months in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Sawed-Off Shotgun

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that WILLIAM PADILLA, also known as Lee, 31, of Daggett Street, New Haven, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to 57 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for unlawfully possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony offense. PADILLA pleaded guilty to the charge on December 30, 2009.

This matter stems from Operation Jedi Knight, an investigation jointly conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the New Haven Police Department. The investigation, which focused on several neighborhoods in New Haven that had experienced increased levels of street violence and gang activity, involved multiple purchases of various quantities of crack cocaine and firearms. Twenty-eight individuals have been arrested on federal or state charges as a result of the investigation.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on July 20, 2009, PADILLA sold a Silma, 28-gauge sawed-off shotgun to an individual who was working with law enforcement. Prior to that date, PADILLA had been convicted of three felony offenses.

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.

PADILLA has been in federal custody since his arrest on September 2, 2009.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the New Haven Police Department pursuant to the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher M. Mattei.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, and improving the safety of residents of Connecticut’s cities. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.