Nice to see the low level dealers being targeted but where’s the linkage to the guys who import?
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Kevin J. O’Connor, announced Wednesday that 22 people — 16 from Norwalk and Stamford — have been indicted on federal charges for allegedly distributing cocaine and crack in southwestern Connecticut.
In a news release, O’Connor said the 30-count indictment was returned on Feb. 14 by a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport, and accuses the people named with various federal drug trafficking, firearm and witness tampering offenses.
Twenty of the people indicted are named in the news release, including 12 from Norwalk and four from Stamford.
O’Connor said the indictment was unsealed Wednesday “following the arrest and presentment of several of the defendants.”
The investigation resulting in the indictments was conducted by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, which comprises members of federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the IRS, and the Norwalk, Bridgeport, Trumbull and Fairfield police departments. The FBI also received assistance from the Stamford Police Department and the Connecticut State Police, O’Connor said.
Norwalk’s member of the task force is Detective Terrence Blake. During a meeting of the city’s Police Commission Wednesday afternoon, Deputy Chief Rosemary Arway praised Blake’s participation in the investigation, saying, “He developed the whole thing.”
The defendants named in the news release by town are:
Norwalk: Richard Davis, 31, a.k.a. “Buck,” “Poo Poo” and “Shooter”; Jerryle Snider, 20, a.k.a. “Broadway” and “Leroy”; Trayson Stevens, 22, a.k.a. “Tray 8,” “Jay” and “Mitch”; Stacey Goss, 30, a.k.a. “Binky”; Sasha Koppel, 21; Dondon Fletcher, 32, a.k.a. “Yellow”; Brent Menskey, 21; Travis Simms, 19, a.k.a. “Trav Lo” and “Love”; Bill Bollman, 62; John Godwin, 36; Luis Serrano, 27; and David Walsh, 52, a.k.a. “Caddy.”
Stamford: Isni Gjuraj, 27, a.k.a. “Ease”; Arbnor Gjini, 25, a.k.a. “Cookie”; Antonio Robinson, 37, a.k.a. “Dave” and “Biggie Smalls”; and Mike Peters, 24.
Bridgeport: Alan Donald, 46, a.k.a. “Bo Donald”; and Lavaughn Brown, 20, a.k.a. “Vaughny.”
Westport: David Karp, 53.
New Canaan: David Peters, 46.
In addition, the news release says three Norwalk residents were taken into custody on state narcotics charges: Carlos Gonzalez, Dahonte Hilliard Roberts, and Jeff Armstrong, all 18 years old.
The indictment, as described in the news release, alleges Gjuraj, Gjini and Davis led an organization that engaged in narcotics trafficking and acts of violence. It says Gjuraj, Gjini and others obtained large, wholesale quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin from sources of supply in Connecticut and New York, and Gjuraj and others would then convert most of the cocaine into crack and package it for redistribution.
The indictment further alleges that Davis was then responsible for distributing the crack to various members of the organization, including Snider, Stevens, Goss, Koppel, Fletcher and others, who, in turn, redistributed the packaged narcotics to the organization’s street level dealer.
The organization primarily distributed narcotics in Norwalk, Stamford and Bridgeport, the news release says.
The indictment alleges Davis, in conjunction with Robinson, acted as “enforcers” or “muscle” for the organization and, together with associates, acted to protect the organization’s members from detection, apprehension and conviction for their illegal activities by intimidating witnesses and otherwise obstructing justice.
Various members of the organization allegedly carried and used firearms while conducting their affairs, and when members of the organization were arrested or wanted by law enforcement, other members would post bail and retain or pay for counsel in an effort to ensure they didn’t provide information about the organization’s criminal activities or otherwise cooperate with law enforcement.
In a breakdown of the charges brought against each of the defendants, the news release indicates that some face prison terms of 20 years to life and fines of up to $4 million.
update: The advocate reports its 24 arrested. Better story below with more details.
Federal authorities and local police yesterday arrested 24 area residents in connection with a cocaine and heroin distribution ring led by suspects who bought drugs in New York and hid them in secret compartments in their cars.
Confidential informants tipped authorities to three men – two from Stamford and one from Norwalk – who allegedly ran the drug ring.
The men purchased large amounts of cocaine in New York City, converted it into crack and sold it across Fairfield County, according Kevin O’Connor, U.S. attorney for Connecticut.
Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling said 11 teams comprised members of the city police emergency services unit and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force began picking up suspects at 6 a.m. yesterday morning.
The majority of the arrests stem from a federal indictment charging 22 people, mostly from Norwalk, with various federal drug trafficking, firearm and witness tampering offenses.
Marybeth Miklos, spokeswoman for the FBI’s field office in New Haven, said late yesterday afternoon that 21 of those people had been apprehended. She would not release the name of the person still at large last night.
Three other Norwalk residents were arrested on state drug charges as part of the long-term investigation, Rilling said.
Those arrested also included an employee of the New Canaan Parks Department, sources close to the case said.
The investigation centered on Isni “Ease” Gjuraj, 27, and Arbnor “Cookie” Gjini, 25, both of Glenbrook Road in Stamford. They were allegedly responsible for buying cocaine, converting it to crack and handing it out to distributors, according to Gjini’s indictment.
Investigators found more than 600 grams of cocaine and 800 grams of crack in a secret compartment built into the center console of Gjini’s 1997 Toyota Camry when they searched it Jan. 20, according to the indictment.
They also seized a loaded handgun, envelopes containing heroin and $3,000, records show.
source:The Hour, 22 indicted on arms, drug-related federal charges, February 21, 2008
source:Advocate, 24 arrested as part of federal drug sting, By Zach Lowe and John Nickerson, February 21 2008