Bristol Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Illegal Gun Possession, Absconding from Supervision

Bristol Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Illegal Gun Possession, Absconding from Supervision

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that XAVIER CRUZ, 28, of Bristol, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet B. Atterton in New Haven to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for unlawful possession of a firearm.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on September 5, 2020, law enforcement found a backpack containing a loaded Smith and Wesson semiautomatic handgun in a parking lot in a residential area of Bristol.  Investigators determined that Cruz had possessed the firearm before discarding it, and subsequent laboratory testing confirmed the presence of Cruz’s DNA on the gun.

Prior to September 2020, Cruz sustained felony convictions in state court for controlled substance offenses.  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.

On May 11, 2021, Cruz pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

On July 21, 2021, Cruz, who was released on a $100,000 bond, removed his ankle monitor and absconded.  Cruz surrendered to law enforcement on April 12, 2022, shortly after the government moved to forfeit his bond, which was co-signed by his mother.

This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Bristol Police Department, with the assistance of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of Scientific Services.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tara Levens and Margaret Donovan.

This case is 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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