Eleven Charged After Long-Term Investigation into
JUL 31 -- June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England ,Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Michael L. Regan, State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of New London, today announced that a federal grand jury in Hartford has returned two Indictments charging 11 individuals with various offenses related to the distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine, and gun trafficking, in southeastern Connecticut. Six of the defendants appeared this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.
One Indictment, returned on July 10, charges ANTHONY MORSE, also known as “Tony,” age 28, of 134 Whalehead Road, Gales Ferry, Connecticut; TIMOTHY SCZUREK, also known as “Tim,” age 29, of Cook Hill Road, Lebanon, Connecticut; HECTOR GONZALEZ, age 37, of Mountain Avenue, New London, Connecticut; VICTOR AYALA, also known as “Vic,” age 49, of Fuller Street, New London; LUIS OJEDA, also known as “Louie Lou,” age 42, of Prest Street, New London; MICHAEL MORSE, age 26, of 138 Washington Street, Norwich, Connecticut; SHAUN NAPOLITANO, age 28, of Vernon, Connecticut, and ALBERTO GARCIA, age 45, of State Pier Road, New London.
A second Indictment, returned on June 26, charges CALVIN SEBASTIAN, also known as “CJ,” age 36, of Waterford, Connecticut; LONNELL BROWN, also known as “Lonnie,” age 34, of Groton, Connecticut; CURTIS MOORE, also known as “Cutz,” age 30, of New London and Providence, Rhode Island.
U.S. Attorney O’Connor and State’s Attorney Regan noted that the charges announced today are the latest stemming from an ongoing federal, state and local law enforcement effort to quell violence fueled by the drug trade in southeastern Connecticut. On December 1, 2005, Deshawn Stewart was killed in a hit and run in retaliation for a gunpoint robbery of two individuals in New London in which he took part. Following Stewart’s death, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives intensified its relationship with the New London and Norwich Police Departments in order to investigate narcotics and firearms trafficking in the area, and target habitual offenders and individuals with violent histories for federal prosecution. To date, 27 individuals have been charged with federal crimes as a result of this joint investigative effort. Several additional individuals have been prosecuted by the New London States Attorney’s Office. The effort, which has expanded to include several additional police departments and the Connecticut State Police, also has removed more than two dozen illegal firearms from the streets.
During searches conducted at the time of the most recent arrests, including searches of rented units at several self-storage locations in eastern Connecticut, law enforcement seized approximately five kilograms of cocaine, more than 30 pounds of marijuana, seven firearms, approximately $60,000 in United States currency, 10 vehicles, and large-scale drug packaging materials from numerous locations.
The first Indictment charges ANTHONY MORSE, SCZUREK, GONZALEZ, AYALA, OJEDA, MICHAEL MORSE, and NAPOLITANO each with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of life imprisonment, and a fine of up to $4,000,000.
The Indictment also charges ANTHONY MORSE, SCZUREK, GONZALEZ, and AYALA with possessing with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum term of 40 years and a fine of up to $2,000,000.
The Indictment further charges SCZUREK with four counts, MICHAEL MORSE with two counts, OJEDA with one count and GARCIA with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Each of these counts carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
MICHAEL MORSE is also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of crack cocaine, and one count of illegally engaging in the business of dealing in firearms. If convicted of the crack cocaine charge, MICHAEL MORSE faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum term of 40 years and a fine of up to $2,000,000. If convicted of the firearms charge, he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
SEBASTIAN, BROWN and MOORE are each charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon. The charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Ten of the 11 defendants charged in the two most recent indictments have been arrested and have entered pleas of not guilty to the charges. GARCIA has not been arrested and is currently being sought by law enforcement.
ANTHONY MORSE, SCZUREK, GONZALEZ, MICHAEL MORSE, SEBASTIAN and BROWN are detained pending trial. AYALA, OJEDA, NAPOLITANO and MOORE have been released on bonds of varying amounts.
U.S. Attorney O’Connor stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, the Norwich Police Department, the New London Police Department, the City of Groton Police Department, the Town of Groton Police Department, the Waterford Police Department, the Stonington Police Department, the Willimantic Police Department and the Connecticut State Police.