News Release
For Immediate Release:
March 27, 2009
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Major Marijuana Trafficker Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug and Immigration Charges

MAR 27 -- Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced DAVID ECCLESTON, also known as “Sparkle D,” “Ivan Chinnery” and “Frederick Mullings,” 44, a citizen of Jamaica last residing in South Orange, New Jersey, pleaded guilty yesterday, March 24, before United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to federal drug and immigration charges that followed the seizure of 400 pounds of marijuana in East Haven in January 2008.  ECCLESTON pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, one count of illegal reentry of the United States by a convicted felon, and one count of possession of a false U.S. passport.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, in January 2008, the New Haven Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force received information regarding 400 pounds of marijuana that was being transported from the southwest to individuals in the New Haven area.  Subsequent investigation revealed that ECCLESTON was the source of the marijuana shipment.  Two individuals were arrested in East Haven on January 22, 2008, after they allegedly attempted to meet an individual delivering the shipment of marijuana, and ECCLESTON was arrested in New Jersey on April 16, 2008.

ECCLESTON had illegally reentered the United States after being deported to Jamaica in May 2003 following a drug felony conviction, and also was in possession of a false U.S. passport at the time of his arrest in this case.

Judge Thompson has scheduled sentencing for June 15, 2009, at which time ECCLESTON faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of life and a fine of up to $4 million on the marijuana trafficking count.  In addition, the illegal reentry charge and the false passport charge each carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

ECCLESTON also has also agreed to forfeit to the United States approximately $210,000 in U.S. currency that was seized from him at the time of his arrest.

This case has been investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and local police departments cooperating with those agencies.