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Federal Jury Finds 2 Members of Violent Bridgeport Gang Guilty of Racketeering Offenses

Human RightsFederal Jury Finds 2 Members of Violent Bridgeport Gang Guilty of Racketeering Offenses

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A federal jury in Bridgeport has found Joshua Gilbert, aka “Lor Heavy,” 22, and Lorenzo Carter, aka “Zo,” 29, guilty of racketeering offenses related to their involvement in a violent Bridgeport street gang. The trial before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley began on Oct. 18 and the jury returned the guilty verdicts yesterday.

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, ATF 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 the evidence presented during the trial, the FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, Connecticut State Police and Bridgeport Police have been investigating multiple Bridgeport-based gangs whose members are involved in narcotics trafficking, murder and other acts of violence. Gilbert and Carter were members of the Original North End (“O.N.E.”), a gang based in the Trumbull Gardens area of Bridgeport that committed acts of violence against rival gangs. O.N.E. members also robbed drug dealers, customers and others, sold narcotics, and stole cars from inside and outside Connecticut, often using the cars to commit crimes. They frequently used social media to promote and coordinate their criminal activities.

On Aug. 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 rival 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 Aug. 13, 2018, Carter and other O.N.E. member 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 gang member, and shot and seriously wounded Smith’s female companion, both of whom were seated in a parked car. After the shooting, Carter and other O.N.E. member transported the Jeep to Indian Well State Park in Shelton where they burned the vehicle in an effort to destroy evidence of the murder.

In November 2019, O.N.E. members stole a Lexus Rx350 from Rye, New York. In early December 2019, O.N.E. members were involved in multiple shots-fired incidents in Bridgeport. In one incident, the mother of rival gang members was shot outside of her Bridgeport home. In another incident, on Dec. 8, 2019, O.N.E. members used the stolen Lexus in a shooting incident at the P.T. Barnum Housing Complex, damaging several cars, and then drove it to Newfield Avenue in Bridgeport where Gilbert and other O.N.E. member shot and killed Ty’Quess Moore, aka “Breezo,” 18.

Gilbert and Carter, along with other O.N.E. members, posted videos to social media in which they and others brandished firearms, celebrated violent gang culture and referenced rivals who were killed.

The jury found Gilbert and Carter guilty of racketeering conspiracy. At sentencing, which is not scheduled, they each faces a maximum term of imprisonment of life.

Gilbert and Carter have been detained since July 2021.

This 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 Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory, and the police departments from Norwalk, Stamford, Fairfield, Stratford, Ansonia, Monroe, Eastchester (N.Y.), Rye (N.Y.), and Newburgh (N.Y.). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen L. Peck, Tara E. Levens, and Patrick J. Doherty.

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 work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop 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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