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Bridgeport Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Charge

Human RightsBridgeport Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Charge

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Luis Garcia, 25, of Bridgeport pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to a racketeering charge stemming from his participation in a violent Bridgeport street gang.

Today’s announcement was made by Vanessa Roberts Avery, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Joseph T. Corradino, State’s Attorney for the Fairfield Judicial District; Bridgeport Police Chief Roderick Porter; Robert Fuller, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the FBI; James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England; and Acting U.S. Marshal Lawrence Bobnick.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service and Bridgeport Police have been investigating multiple Bridgeport-based gangs whose members are involved in narcotics trafficking, murder and other acts of violence. Garcia was a member of the Original North End, a gang based in the Trumbull Gardens area of Bridgeport that committed acts of violence against rival gangs, including the East End gang, the East Side gang and the PT Barnum gang. O.N.E. members also robbed drug dealers and others, sold narcotics and stole cars from inside and outside Connecticut and used the cars to commit crimes.

Text messages and social media posts reviewed during the investigation confirmed that Garcia possessed and sold narcotics and firearms, stole vehicles and was involved in related violent criminal activity alongside other O.N.E. members and associates.

On August 9, 2018, O.N.E. members stole a Jeep Grand Cherokee in Newburgh, New York, and drove it back to Bridgeport. In the following days, O.N.E. members conspired to use the car to kill East End gang members and their allies who they had learned through social media were at a deli on Stratford Avenue in Bridgeport. Although that plan fell through, in the early morning hours of August 13, 2018, O.N.E. members drove the stolen Jeep to Stratford and Union Avenues in Bridgeport where they shot and killed Len Smith, 25, who they mistook for a rival East End group member, and shot and seriously wounded Smith’s female companion, both of whom were seated in a parked car. After the shooting, O.N.E. members transported the Jeep to Indian Wells State Park in Shelton where they burned the vehicle in an effort to destroy evidence of the murder.

It is alleged that O.N.E. members committed other violent crimes, including murder.

Garcia pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. A sentencing date is not scheduled.

Garcia has been detained since his arrest on September 8, 2021.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Safe Streets and Violent Crimes Task Forces, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, Bridgeport Police Department, Connecticut State Police and the Bridgeport State’s Attorney’s Office, with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory and the Waterbury Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen L. Peck, Rahul Kale, Jocelyn C. Kaoutzanis and Tara E. Levens.

This prosecution is a part of the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), Project Longevity 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 works together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develops 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.

Project Longevity is a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence in Connecticut’s major cities. Through Project Longevity, community members and law enforcement directly engage with members of groups that are prone to commit violence and deliver a community message against violence, a law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence and an offer of help for those who want it. If a group member elects to engage in gun violence, the focused attention of federal, state and local law enforcement will be directed at that entire group.

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.

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Story from www.atf.gov

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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