John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment yesterday charging ASANTE GAINES, 23, of Bridgeport, with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, in an effort to address escalating violence in Bridgeport, the FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals, Bridgeport Police and other local police departments are actively investigating members of multiple Bridgeport-based groups, including members of the “Greene Homes Boys” or “Hots” (“GHB/Hots”), a group based in the Charles F. Greene Homes Housing Complex in Bridgeport’s North End. On August 5, 2020, the grand jury returned an indictment charging Gaines and four associates with multiple offenses related to their alleged involvement in a shooting in front of the state courthouse in Bridgeport on January 27, 2020.
The indictment returned yesterday charges Gaines with illegally possessing a loaded Glock 19, 9 millimeter handgun on February 15, 2018. Gaines was arrested on state charges on that date.
It is alleged that Gaines’ criminal history includes state felony convictions for possessing a firearm without a pistol permit, and failure to appear. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.
The charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
Gaines is currently detained.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Safe Streets and Violent Crimes Task Forces, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, Bridgeport Police Department, Connecticut State Police and the Bridgeport State’s Attorney’s Office, with the assistance of the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory and the Waterbury Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn C. Kaoutzanis, Rahul Kale, Peter D. Markle and Karen L. Peck.
U.S. Attorney Durham noted that this prosecution is a part of the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program and Project Longevity. PSN is a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Longevity is a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence in Connecticut’s major cities. Through Project Longevity, community members and law enforcement directly engage with members of groups that are prone to commit violence and deliver a community message against violence, a law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence and an offer of help for those who want it.