News Release
June 25, 2007

New London Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug and Gun Charges

JUN 25 --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, announced that JAMES BOWERS, age 21, of New London, Connecticut, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to one count of possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”), and one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

According to documents filed with the Court, as to the narcotics charge, in December 2005 and January 2006, an individual cooperating with law enforcement made controlled purchases of crack cocaine from BOWERS on four separate occasions. On March 12, 2006, New London Police officers who were responding to a citizen’s complaint about open drug sales encountered BOWERS on Mountain Avenue. BOWERS consented to a search and officers found a quantity of crack cocaine secreted on his person.

As to the firearms charge, on May 11, 2005, New London Police stopped a vehicle in which a driver and passenger, who was later identified as BOWERS, were not wearing seat belts. Based on previous encounters with law enforcement, BOWERS was known to police as a member of a local gang that regularly engaged in drug trafficking activities and were known to possess weapons. Upon questioning by the officer, BOWERS denied possession of any drugs or weapons, and agreed to a search of his person. While searching BOWERS, the officer detected the butt of a handgun in the waistband area of BOWERS’ pants. The weapon was retrieved and proved to be a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, which was loaded with four hollow-point rounds.

Prior to May 11, 2005, BOWERS had been convicted of felony offenses, including 2003 convictions for possession of narcotics, and assault in the first degree.

It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

On May 11, 2005, BOWERS was arrested on state charges. The case subsequently was adopted by federal authorities for prosecution.

Judge Kravitz has scheduled sentencing for September 25, 2007, at which time BOWERS faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of life.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New London Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy United States Attorney John H. Durham.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, and improving the safety of residents in Connecticut’s cities.