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Published On: Mon, Apr 1st, 2019

Investigation Targeting Norwich Based Drug Ring Results in Indictment against 13 Individuals

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Brian C. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Norwich Police Chief Patrick J. Daley today announced that, on March 5, 2019, a federal grand jury in Hartford returned an indictment today charging 13 individuals with trafficking narcotics.  The indictment was unsealed today.

Photo/Sammis Reachers

The six-count indictment charges each of the following individuals with conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, various quantities of heroin, cocaine and cocaine base (“crack cocaine”):

KAREEM SWINTON, a.k.a. “K,” 37, of Owings Mills, Maryland
HAROLD BUTLER, a.k.a. “Haas,” 41, of Norwich
EDWIN DEJESUS, 48, of Hartford
JOSHUA GLOVER, 37, of Norwich
LORENZO GRIER, a.k.a. “Toot,” 28, of New Haven
JOEL HALL, a.k.a. “Slugz,” 30, of Norwich
ROBERT GRANT HALL, a.k.a. “Chevy,” 38, of Norwich
GEORGES LABONTE, 24, of Norwich
SHAKERIA NEALY, a.k.a. “Sis,” 39, of Waterbury
CLIVENS PIERRE, 34, of Putnam
ANDRE SMITH, a.k.a. “Dre,” 39, of Woodstock
JERROD STEELE, 30, of Ledyard
DAVID SULLIVAN, a.k.a. “Day-Day,” 37, of Norwich

As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, in 2018, the FBI, Norwich Police Department and other law enforcement agencies began investigating a drug trafficking organization that was distributing heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine in southeastern Connecticut.  The investigation, which has included court-authorized wiretaps and controlled purchases of crack cocaine, revealed that Kareem Swinton, who formerly resided in Norwich, trafficked narcotics into the Norwich area, where co-conspirators further distributed the drugs.

Between April 2018 and February 2019, it is alleged that Swinton conspired to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life; Robert Grant Hall conspired to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years; Butler, Glover, Joel Hall, Labonte, Pierre, Smith, Steele and Sullivan conspired to distribute a quantity of cocaine, an offense that carries maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years; Swinton, DeJesus, Grier, Joel Hall, Robert Grant Hall and Nealy conspired to distribute a quantity of heroin, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years; Butler, Robert Grant Hall and Smith conspired to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years; and Glover, Joel Hall, Labonte, Pierre and Steele conspired to distribute a quantity of crack cocaine, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

The indictment also alleges that Glover, Grier, Joel Hall, Labonte and Pierre each used a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking felony, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of four years.

Eleven of the 13 defendants were arrested on federal criminal complaints in February.  Swinton and other members of the alleged conspiracy appeared today in Hartford federal court and entered pleas of not guilty to the charges.  Swinton is detained while awaiting trial.

Joel Hall and Jerrod Steele have not been apprehended and are being sought by law enforcement.  Citizens with information about their whereabouts are encouraged to contact the FBI at (203) 777-6311.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Connecticut State Police and Norwich, Town of Groton and Waterford Police Departments, with the assistance of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, Baltimore Police Department and Delaware State Police.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Natasha M. Freismuth and S. Dave Vatti.

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