News Release
For Immediate Release:
April 13, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Project Safe Neighborhoods:

New London Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Gun Charge

APR 13 -- Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DANIEL CRUZ, also known as “Splat,” 32, of New London, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on January 30, 2009, CRUZ possessed a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol in New London.  The firearm had been reported stolen by its owner.

Prior to January 30, 2009, CRUZ had been convicted of multiple felony offenses, including possession of narcotics, possession of a hallucinogen/marijuana, first degree assault, second degree assault, and possession of a pistol without a permit.  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.

This matter stems from a joint law enforcement investigation headed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Connecticut State Police, Norwich Police Department, Groton Town Police Department, New London Police Department, Waterford Police Department, and the State of Connecticut’s Department of Correction and Office of Adult Probation.

Judge Bryant has scheduled sentencing for July 16, 2010, at which time CRUZ faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, ammunition and body armor, and improving the safety of residents in Connecticut’s cities.  Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.