News Release
November 8, 2007

New London Man Sentenced To Nearly 10 Years In Federal Prison
For Drug Dealing, Gun Possession

NOV 8 -- June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that EZRA PATRICK, 20, of Cliff Street, New London, Connecticut, was sentenced yesterday, November 7, by United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 117 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised. release. On February 26, 2007, PATRICK pleaded guilty to one count of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, and one count of possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. PATRICK was sentenced to 57 months on the marijuana count, and a mandatory consecutive sentence of 60 months for possessing a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, on July 3, 2006, at approximately 8:30 p.m., New London Police stopped a 1997 Pontiac Bonneville registered to and being operated by PATRICK after he failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign located at the end of Wightman Street, and for using a cellular telephone while operating his vehicle. Based on the officers’ knowledge of PATRICK’s prior arrest on weapons offenses and his involvement in drug dealing, they were particularly cautious in dealing with him. Officers removed PATRICK from his vehicle after he refused an initial request to do so. When the driver’s door to the automobile was opened, officers detected the strong odor of unburned marijuana. At that point, PATRICK was placed in handcuffs and detained while the officers conducted an investigation.

A narcotics dog was brought to the scene and the dog “hit” in the area of the dashboard and air vents/air bag in the front passenger side of the vehicle. An officer noted the strongest smell of marijuana was coming from the passenger-side air bag compartment of the vehicle and, upon closer inspection, noticed that the air bag door/cover had been tampered with. The officer was able to lift a corner of the cover and saw plastic baggies inside. The air bag cover was then removed, and the officers found and seized several plastic bags containing a total of 27.2 grams of marijuana; a clear plastic bag containing 6.7 grams of cocaine; two clear plastic bags containing a total of 49.8 grams of crack cocaine; a “Fuzion Diablo” scale with powder residue, and a black, Hungarian Arms Work, Model PPH, .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol, which contained five live rounds of ammunition.

As the contraband was being recovered, PATRICK, who had been seated on the side of the road, ran from the scene before he was caught by several officers and restrained.

Subsequent investigation determined that the firearm had been reported stolen from an Old Lyme, Connecticut residence on March 15, 2002.

This prosecution is part of 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, more than 30 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.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, together with officers of the New London Police Department.