John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in Hartford has returned a three-count indictment charging WILLIE JACKSON, 25, of New Haven, with firearm possession and narcotics distribution offenses.
The indictment was returned on September 29, 2020. Jackson appeared today via videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. Richardson and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. Jackson has been detained since his arrest on related state charges on March 27, 2020.
This prosecution is part of a coordinated federal, state and local law enforcement effort to address rising gun violence in New Haven. Participating in this effort are the New Haven Police Department; the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The indictment alleges that, on February 26, 2020, Jackson possessed and distributed a quantity of crack cocaine and, on March 27, 2020, possessed a loaded Ruger SR40 .40 caliber handgun and a quantity of heroin that he intended to distribute.
It is alleged that Jackson’s criminal history includes state felony convictions for assault, robbery and firearm 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.
The indictment charges Jackson with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years; one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, cocaine base (“crack”), which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years; and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
If convicted, Jackson faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on the firearm charge, and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years of each of the controlled substances charges.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Haven Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan Keefe.
U.S. Attorney Durham noted that this prosecution is a part of the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program and Project Longevity. PSN is a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. 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.