News Release
March 4, 2008

Middletown Man Sentenced to More
Than Six Years in Federal Prison for Gun Trafficking

MAR 4 -- 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 LUCAS BELL, also known as “Iraq,” 25, of Middletown, Connecticut, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to 78 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. On August 6, 2007, BELL pleaded guilty to one count of transportation of a stolen firearm, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. On April 25, 2007, a federal grand jury in Hartford returned an Indictment charging BELL and several others with various gun trafficking and possession offenses. According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, the charges stem from a year-long investigation that followed the burglary of a firearms dealer in Taylors, South Carolina. In pleading guilty, BELL admitted that he placed, stored or concealed in a motor vehicle approximately 28 firearms stolen on or about March 15, 2006, from the firearms dealer, and then transported one or more of the stolen firearms from South Carolina to Connecticut. In December 1999, BELL was convicted in Connecticut Superior Court of sale of narcotics. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce. U.S. Attorney O’Connor noted that this prosecution is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. This program is aimed at reducing gun violence, deterring illegal possession, sale and trafficking of guns, and improving the safety of residents throughout Connecticut. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

The case was investigated by the Hartford Violent Crime Impact Team, the Middletown and Bristol Police Departments, and the Greenville County (SC) Sheriff’s Department. The VCIT, which is a joint task force dedicated to combating violent crime and firearms violations, is composed of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Hartford Police Department, the United States Marshals Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.