U.S. Department of Justice. United States Attorney
CONTACT: Tom Carson, Public Information Office, (203) 821-3722, (203) 996-1393 (cell)
Project Safe Neighborhoods: HARTFORD MAN INDICTED ON GUN, DRUG CHARGES.
Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford has returned an Indictment against JOHN A. PHILLIPS, age 32, of 105 Mapleton Street, Hartford, Connecticut, on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. PHILLIPS was arrested yesterday, May 4, and is currently detained.
The Indictment, returned on April 30, 2004, alleges that PHILLIPS was previously convicted on October 13, 1998, in Connecticut Superior Court, of carrying a pistol without a permit, and that on February 5, 2004, he knowingly possessed a Smith & Wesson Model 36, .38 Special revolver. The Indictment further alleges that PHILLIPS possessed with the intent to distribute heroin, and that he possessed a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
If PHILLIPS is convicted of all counts in the Indictment, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years consecutive to the sentence he receives on the possession of a firearm and narcotics charges, and a maximum sentence of life.
U.S. Attorney O'Connor stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and officers of the Hartford Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian P. Leaming.
The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, and improving the safety of residents in Hartford and all of Connecticut's cities. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. More information on the nationwide Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative can be found atwww.psn.gov.