(Bridgeport, CT – Oct. 1, 2013) — The Statewide Urban Violence Cooperative Crime Control Task Force announced three significant arrests as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal firearms trafficking in Greater Bridgeport.
Among the weapons seized were an illegal Street Sweeper — a Cobray 12-gauge shotgun with collapsible stock, front pistol grip, and 20-round drum — and a Romarm AK-47-type assault weapon with 30-round, high-capacity magazine. The magazine was loaded with 22 live 7.62 x 39 rounds.
“These weapons have devastating capability. They posed a risk to our community and our police officers. The rounds in the seized AK-47 would rip though a police officer’s bullet-proof vest,” said Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. “Imagine what it would do to a group of young people standing on a corner.”
The investigation remains active and additional arrests could be announced.
So far this year, the Statewide Urban Violence Cooperative Crime Control Task Force has seized 45 firearms off of the streets in Bridgeport and its surrounding towns. The task force is comprised of Bridgeport Police, Department of Correction, and State Police personnel.
“This is a small unit – four people — but it has had enormous success in reducing violence in Bridgeport,” said Chief Gaudett. “They don’t often make headlines because so much of their work relates to preventing violence before it happens.”
The mission of the task force is to target violence, gangs and drugs in Greater Bridgeport and a key component of that mission is to target gun traffickers.
As part of this investigation, police have arrested five individuals and seized nine firearms. Because the investigation is ongoing, three arrests were announced today.
In the last 10 days, the task force made multiple arrests related to the seizures of firearms in Bridgeport and Stratford, including but not limited to the following arrests:
Sergio Paul, 21, and Nolan Moore, 28, were arrested on Sept. 23, 2013, and Sept. 25, 2013, respectively for the illegal sale of a Ruger .357 Magnum handgun on April 4, 2013.
Paul and Moore were both charged with criminal possession of a firearm, illegal transfer of a firearm, conspiracy to illegally sell a firearm, and weapon in a motor vehicle. Moore was additionally charged with firearms trafficking and a number of other firearms-related charges related to two additional illegal firearms sales, one of which being the Street Sweeper.
Paul has another pending criminal case related to a May 7, 2013, arrest by the Bridgeport Police Department for multiple firearms charges.
Paul and Moore are jailed at the Bridgeport Community Correctional Center on $250,000 and $200,000 bonds respectively.
Jeremias Serrano, 33, was arrested on September 24, 2013, for the illegal sale of a Romarm AK-47 type assault weapon.
Serrano was charged with sale of an assault weapon, conspiracy to sell an assault weapon, possession of an assault weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, weapon in a motor vehicle, three counts of sale of narcotics, conspiracy to sell narcotics, and sale of narcotics within 1500 feet of a School. Serrano is currently being held at the Bridgeport Community Correctional Center on $150,000 bond.
Additional arrests are pending.
“These weapons have no business being on our streets or in any civilized society for that matter. They are plain and simple weapons of war,” said Mayor Bill Finch, “and the war shouldn’t be waged on the streets of American cities.”
Mayor Finch again called upon Congress to pass meaningful gun legislation, including a requirement for universal background checks.
“My deepest thanks to the members of the task force. Theirs is dangerous work and they risk their lives every day to protect our residents.”
An AK-47-type weapon could yield between $1,000 and $1,200 on the black market. A Street Sweeper could yield about $800.
Public Safety Spokesman
Bridgeport Police Department
Bridgeport Fire Department