Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced today that STEPHFAN SANDERSON, also known as “Birdy” and “Beans”, 24, of Covington, Georgia, appeared before US District Judge Victor A. Bolden yesterday in Bridgeport pleaded guilty to an arms dealing offense.
According to court documents and court statements, the FBI, ATF, DEA, US Marshals Service and Bridgeport Police Department have been investigating several Bridgeport-based gangs whose members are involved in drug trafficking, murder and other violent crimes. From at least 2017 until his November 12, 2020 arrest, Sanderson, a formerly resident of Bridgeport, obtained at least 25 firearms in Georgia and Alabama and distributed them to individuals he had reason to believe were using those firearms to commit crimes including members of the Greene Homes Boyz (“GHB/Hotz”) and Original North End (“ONE”) street gangs in Bridgeport. Some of the firearms he traded were capable of firing multiple bullets with a single pull of the trigger.
Sanderson pleaded guilty to once crossing state lines with intent to engage in unlicensed firearms trafficking, a crime carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A conviction is not planned.
Sanderson has been incarcerated since his arrest.
This investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Safe Streets and Violent Crimes Task Forces, ATF, DEA, US Marshals Service, Bridgeport Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Bridgeport State’s Attorney’s Office with assistance from the US Postal Inspection Service, Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory and the Stratford and Naugatuck Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Rahul Kale, Jocelyn C. Kaoutzanis, Stephanie T. Levick and Karen L. Peck.
This law enforcement is part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), Project Longevity and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) programs.
PSN is at the heart of the Department of Justice’s efforts to reduce violent crime. PSN is an evidence-based program that has been shown to be effective in reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a wide range of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime issues 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 re-entry programs to sustainably reduce crime.
Project Longevity is a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence in major Connecticut cities. Through Project Longevity, community members and law enforcement connect directly with members of groups prone to violence and convey a community message against violence, a law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence, and an offer of assistance to those who so desire. When a group member engages in gun violence, federal, state, and local law enforcement directs the attention of that entire group.
OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutorial-led and intelligence-led approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. For more information about the OCDETF program, visit https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.