Waterbury Men Charged with Various Drug and Firearm Offenses

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Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in Hartford returned indictments yesterday charging ALEX REYES, also known as “A.J.,” 24; JULIAN GOODMAN, 24; DOUGLAS LARA, also known as “Spaz,” 24, and RALPH ERNEST, 19, all of Waterbury, with various drug and firearms offenses.  The indictments stem from an ongoing investigation into gangs, drug trafficking and the illegal possession of firearms in Waterbury.

Reyes and Goodman are charged in a three-count indictment alleging that they conspired to possess and distribute heroin and fentanyl.  Reyes, who is alleged to have previous convictions for felony drug trafficking and assault offenses, is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  It is alleged that Reyes possessed a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol on August 26, 2021.  If convicted of these charges, Reyes faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life, and Goodman faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

Lara is charged in a two-count indictment with possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.  Is it alleged that Lara has multiple previous felony convictions and, on May 6, 2021, possessed a loaded 9mm handgun with an obliterated serial number.  If convicted, he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count.

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Ernest is charged in a two-count indictment with possession with intent to distribute heroin, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  It is alleged that on January 19, 2021, Ernest possessed a distribution quantity of heroin and a loaded 9mm handgun.  If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.

Reyes, Goodman, Lara and Ernest were originally charged with related state offenses and their cases were adopted for federal prosecution.  They are currently detained in state custody pending their arraignments on these federal charges.

Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle 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 matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Connecticut State Police; Waterbury Police Department; Wolcott Police Department, and Connecticut Department of Correction.  These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. Pierpont, Jr., Natasha M. Freismuth, and Konstantin Lantsman.

Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle thanked the State’s Attorney’s Office for the Judicial District of Waterbury for its close cooperation in investigating and prosecuting this matter.

These prosecutions are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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