So what’s your take on Governor Rell’s budget impact on the state’s largest city? All things considered, she presents a bunch of opportunities for Bridgeport.
State Rep. Chris Caruso, senior member of the city’s legislative delegation, has joined the knee-jerk myopic jackals’ chorus of soaking the rich. How visionary. Caruso wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest of Connecticut citizens to offset Rell’s cuts to bloated departments. The Great Caruso’s squint is as myopic as his mayoral pledge: it’s corruption and nothing else matters.
Let’s see now, the governor’s proposed budget preserves the educational cost-sharing formula for Bridgeport, suspends binding arbitration that has killed the city for decades, dissolves in-house school suspensions that cost more money, does away with unfunded mandates, promotes additional bucks for regional cost-sharing initiatives, pledges money for seasonal beach and parks jobs that benefits city residents.
All of the above lifts Caruso’s constituency, but he’d rather squeeze the groins of the wealthiest citizens, raise additional business taxes, drive more businesses out of the state further eroding the city’s taxable property, simply because it’s the lazy thing to say.
What happened to the independent-minded Great Caruso? He spews the same spit as majority Democrats. I want to hear from all the Caruso supporters today.
Blue Donkey, you still out there?
Glad They’re Not After Me
Hey, what was all that commotion in beautiful downtown Bridgeport Wednesday morning: streets closed, guns poised, search warrants executed, arrests made? I had to take a different route dropping my stepdaughter Kaitlin off at Housatonic Community College. I call it Lennie’s Limo Service, poor kid broke her ankle on the ice. (No, I did not push her.)
All I know is, I’m glad the feds aren’t after me anymore. News release from Acting U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy:
FBI SAFE STREETS TASK FORCE INVESTIGATION CULMINATES IN ARREST OF 34 INDIVIDUALS
Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned two Indictments charging several individuals from the greater Bridgeport area with participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine and a conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine. Today, 34 individuals charged in the Indictments were arrested. The Indictments remain sealed pending the arrest of additional defendants.
The Indictments stem from “Operation G-Force,” a joint law enforcement investigation headed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force. The year-long investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of cocaine, crack and heroin, and physical surveillance.
One Indictment charges a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine throughout Bridgeport and Fairfield County between January 2005 and January 2009. Earlier today, the following individuals charged in the Indictment were arrested by agents and officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force:
GEORGE SANCHEZ, a.k.a. “Georgie” and “Little G,” 30, of Howard Avenue, Bridgeport
JOSE LUIS SANCHEZ, a.k.a. “Lou” and “Luisito,” 38, of Voight Avenue, Bridgeport
JONATHAN BANKS, a.k.a. “Capone,” 32, of Marina Village, South Avenue, Bridgeport
ABNER TORRES, 26, of Seaview Avenue, Bridgeport
LASHAWN RUFF, a.k.a. “Shawny Rock,” 32, of Taft Avenue, Bridgeport
TERRENCE BROWN, a.k.a. “Fugi,” 30, of Ogden Street, Bridgeport
EDDIE PAGAN, 30, of Hawley Avenue, Bridgeport
JOEL SOTO, a.k.a. “Joe Crack,” 27, of Cleveland Avenue, Bridgeport
VINCENT VARELA, a.k.a. “Vic,” 29, of Pearl Street, Bridgeport
NELSON ALBALADEJO, a.k.a. “Peelback,” 31, of Smith Street, Derby
VICTOR ROBERSON, a.k.a. “Cool V,” 37, of Marina Village, South Avenue, Bridgeport
JASON RIVERA, 27, of Chestnut Street, Bridgeport
ANGEL RIVERA, a.k.a. “Ange,” 28, of State Street, Bridgeport
ADRIAN RIVERA, a.k.a. “Heff,” 24, of Summerfield Avenue, Bridgeport
GREGORY CRUZ, a.k.a. “June,” 32, of Hawley Avenue, Bridgeport
JOSEPH CARRERO, 23, of Little Deer Road, Bridgeport
ANTHONY ARMSTEAD, a.k.a. “Most,” 30, of Charles Street, Bridgeport
RUBEN CRUZ, a.k.a. “Rube,” 29, of Jackson Avenue, Stratford
JAVIER HERNANDEZ, a.k.a. “Javi,” 27, of 172 Grove Street, Bridgeport
CARLTON WATSON, a.k.a. “Carton,” 22, of Caroline Street, Bridgeport
ALLEN NAVARRO, 36, of Clover Street, Ansonia
RICHARD NAU, 26, of Light Street, Stratford
MONSERRATE VIDRO, a.k.a. “June,” 33, of Wilson Road, Easton
MIGUEL RIVERA, 26, of Palisades Avenue, Bridgeport
A second Indictment charges a conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine throughout Bridgeport and Fairfield County between January 2008 and January 2009. Earlier today, the following individuals charged in the Indictment were arrested by agents and officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force:
MALCOLM WHITE, a.k.a. “Malc” and “X,” 33, of Marina Village, South Avenue, Bridgeport
SHAMARR MYERS, 30, of Westfield Avenue, Bridgeport
CORNELIUS TAYLOR, a.k.a. “Corn,” 35, of Chopsey Hill, Bridgeport
JUAN HERNANDEZ, a.k.a. “Keyes,” of Carleton Avenue, Bridgeport
DAMEON WHITAKER, a.k.a. “Knowledge” and “John Measles,” of Atlantic Street, Bridgeport
SARAH RODRIGUEZ, 21, Marina Village, South Avenue, Bridgeport
SAMMUEL BOLTON, 32, of Pearl Street, Bridgeport
FRANKLIN JACKSON, 39, of Newfield Avenue, Bridgeport
ALEX ROTAS, 23, of Newtown
MAYRA MIRO, 24, of Putnam Street, Bridgeport
Most of the defendants were presented in United States District Court in Bridgeport and have been ordered held without bond pending detention hearings that will occur in the coming days. In addition to those arrested today, several defendants named in the Indictment currently are in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Correction.
Several defendants are being sought by law enforcement.
In addition to the arrests, Task Force agents executed five search warrants and seized narcotics, cash, vehicles, and firearms.
“I want to acknowledge the incredibly hard work and commitment of the FBI, Bridgeport Police, and all of the federal, state and local law enforcement officers who participated in the lengthy investigation of this matter and today’s arrests,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Dannehy. “Federal penalties for distributing cocaine, crack and heroin are severe, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal partners will continue to work with local and state law enforcement to break up narcotics trafficking rings and vigorously prosecute their participants.”
If convicted, the majority of the defendants face a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of life, and fines of up to $4,000,000. Due to prior narcotics trafficking convictions, a number of defendants face mandatory 20-year or lifetime terms of imprisonment.
“The federal warrants executed today are the culmination of a year-long joint investigation by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, the Connecticut State Police and the Bridgeport Police Department,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz. “The FBI also recognizes and thanks for their invaluable assistance the Norwalk, Stamford, Trumbull, Fairfield, Stratford, Hartford, New Haven, East Haven and New York MTA Police Departments, the Internal Revenue Service, Connecticut Department of Correction, and the Department of Labor. This is yet another example of the FBI’s commitment to working with federal, state and local law enforcement to combat violent crime.”
During the execution of the federal search and arrest warrants, an FBI Special Agent unintentionally discharged his weapon and defendant JUAN HERNANDEZ was injured. HERNANDEZ was taken to the hospital where he is being treated for a non life-threatening injury. Consistent with FBI policy where an FBI Agent is involved in a shooting, an independent team will investigate the incident.
Acting United States Attorney Dannehy stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, which is composed of federal agents and state and local officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, the Connecticut State Police Statewide Narcotics Task Force, and the Bridgeport, Stamford, Stratford, Fairfield, Trumbull and Norwalk Police Departments. This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hal Chen and Tracy Dayton.