As part of an ongoing investigation into gang-related drug trafficking and related violence in Bridgeport, a federal grand jury in New Haven has returned an indictment charging four Bridgeport men with conspiring to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, including drug trafficking, murder and attempted murder.
Today’s announcement was made by John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Joseph T. Corradino, State’s Attorney for the Fairfield Judicial District; Bridgeport Acting Police Chief Rebeca Garcia; David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Boston Field Division; and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England.
The indictment, which was returned on January 19 and unsealed yesterday, charges
KEISHAWN DONALD, 19
TREVON WRIGHT, also known as “Tre,” 19
KYRAN DANGERFIELD, 24,
ERIC HAYES, also known as “Heavyweight Champ,” 24
Wright was arrested yesterday. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel via videoconference and is detained. Donald, Dangerfield and Hayes were previously detained and are in federal or state custody.
As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, in an effort to address escalating violence in Bridgeport, the FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals, and Bridgeport Police are actively investigating multiple Bridgeport-based groups whose members are involved in narcotics trafficking, murder and other acts of violence. Donald, Wright, Dangerfield and Hayes are members or associates of the “East End gang,” which began as a local street gang based in the East End of Bridgeport, but currently has members and associates who are either incarcerated or living throughout Bridgeport and surrounding towns. The East End gang has been aligned with other groups, including the PT Barnum Gang, the East Side gang and 150, which is a geographic gang based on the West Side of Bridgeport. These groups were aligned against rival organizations in Bridgeport, including the “Original North End” (“O.N.E.”) and the “Greene Homes Boyz,” (“GHB/Hotz”), based in the Charles F. Greene Homes Housing Complex in Bridgeport’s North End.
The indictment alleges that the East End gang distributed heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and Percocet pills; used and shared firearms; and committed murder and other acts of violence against rival gang members and other individuals. East End members celebrated their criminal conduct on social media websites such as Facebook and YouTube, and committed acts of intimidation and made threats to deter potential witnesses to their crimes and to protect gang members and associates from detection and prosecution by law enforcement authorities.
Among the violent acts committed by the gang, the indictment alleges that:
- On January 30, 2018, Donald shot and killed Eric Heard, a.k.a. “Fetti,” a member and associate of the GHB/Hotz gang;
- On September 18, 2019, Wright shot and attempted to kill Marquis Isreal, a.k.a. “Garf” or “Gbaby,” a member and associate of the O.N.E. gang;
- On December 8, 2019, Wright shot and attempted to kill Arvan Smith, a.k.a. “Arv Barkley,” an associate of the O.N.E. gang;
- On January 26, 2020, Wright and “JW,” an East End associate who is now deceased, shot and killed Myreke Kenion and shot and attempted to kill D’Andre Brown, both associates of the GHB/Hotz gang;
- On June 24, 2020, Dangerfield, JW and a juvenile shot and killed Tyler Ballew, a member and associate of the O.N.E. gang;
- On October 17, 2019, Donald agreed with other East End gang members to shoot and attempt to kill Joshua Gilbert, a member and associate of the O.N.E. gang;
If convicted, Donald, Wright and Dangerfield face a maximum term of imprisonment of life, and Hayes faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
“This ongoing investigation is methodically getting to the roots of much of the violent activity Bridgeport has experienced during the last few years,” said U.S. Attorney Durham. “The allegations in this indictment, combined with charges announced in previous indictments, detail numerous, senseless violent acts committed by members and associates of warring street gangs. As gun violence continues to menace not only Bridgeport but other Connecticut cities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will employ the full weight of federal law to neutralize these violent groups and remove their members who murder and maim from the community. I thank our counterparts in the Bridgeport State’s Attorney’s Office, who are supervising this investigation with our office, and the Bridgeport Police Department, FBI, ATF, DEA and U.S. Marshals Service, for their collaborative effort in bringing these individuals to justice.”
U.S. Attorney Durham noted that, in the past year, 21 members of the East End, O.N.E. and GHB/Hotz gangs have been charged with federal offenses as a result of this ongoing investigation.
“The cooperation of federal, state, and local law enforcement in the Fairfield Judicial District continues to be a model for the protection of the life, liberty, and property of the citizens we serve through our focus on the small number of individuals who threaten the safety and security of so many,” said State’s Attorney Corradino. “I am grateful to Mr. Durham and his staff as well as the federal agents for their commitment to the greater Bridgeport community, and pledge the full resources of my office to continue these efforts.”
“The Bridgeport Police Department is committed to an ongoing partnership with varying agencies to focus on violent crime incidents that have occurred in our city and to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring,” said Acting Chief Garcia. “Gun violence, group member violence, drug activity, etc., have been an expressed concern of the residents within our communities; therefore, we have taken an even greater proactive approach by applying resources to and collaborating with these agencies, and are now witnessing the benefits of these partnerships. These indictments should be a clear message that we will not allow our communities to continue being plagued by violence.”
“Addressing gang violence head on continues to be a top priority for the FBI and our law enforcement partners,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Sundberg. “These recent arrests are just a peek into our overall strategy to reduce gun violence, prevent and dismantle gangs in Connecticut.”
“This investigation is an example of ATF’s commitment to working with our law enforcement partners at the Bridgeport Police Department, FBI and DEA,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Brady. “Together we identified, targeted, investigated and arrested alleged violent criminals. This indictment should serve as a warning that we will not tolerate gang related violence and those who cause it.”
“Drug trafficking, along with the violence that all too often accompanies it, is a serious threat to the safety and security of our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Boyle. “Drug dealers and street gangs value their own profits over human life, and are responsible for fueling drug addiction and much of the violent crimes across New England. These crimes hold law abiding citizens of Connecticut hostage to drug-fueled lawlessness. This is unacceptable and will not be allowed to happen. DEA and its local, state and federal partners are dedicated to bringing to justice those that commit these crimes.”
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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 Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory and the Waterbury Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Kale, Jocelyn C. Kaoutzanis, Peter D. Markle and Karen L. Peck.
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 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. 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. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.