News Release
January 28, 2008

Southeastern Connecticut Drug Trafficker Pleads Guilty

JAN 28 -- 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, announced that DAMIAN BRYANT, 33, last residing on Coleman Street, New London, Connecticut, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to one count of possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, in May 2007, law enforcement authorities received information that BRYANT and a female associate were selling narcotics from rooms at a motel in East Lyme, Connecticut. On several occasions from June to September 2007, officers and troopers assigned to the Connecticut Statewide Narcotics Task Force supervised controlled purchases of crack cocaine from BRYANT and his female associate. On the evening of September 13 and the early morning of September 14, law enforcement authorities executed a search warrant at the motel. BRYANT was arrested after a clear plastic bag containing 13.7 grams of crack cocaine fell from his pocket after BRYANT jumped from a balcony in order to avoid apprehension. A search of BRYANT’s motel room revealed nearly 200 grams of powder cocaine, an additional 34.3 grams of crack cocaine, 3.2 grams of marijuana, a black digital scale, several other items used for drug trafficking and $2794 in U.S. currency.

In August 2000, BRYANT was sentenced to 70 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and distribution of crack cocaine.

Judge Underhill has scheduled sentencing for April 11, 2008, at which time BRYANT faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of life and a fine of up to $4,000,000.

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 matter has been 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.