New Britain Man Involved in Theft of 14 Guns from Portland Firearm Dealer Sentenced to 6 Years in Federal Prison

New Britain Man Involved in Theft of 14 Guns from Portland Firearm Dealer Sentenced to 6 Years in Federal Prison

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that KENNEY COTTO, 25, of New Britain, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to 72 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for firearm offenses stemming from his participation in the burglary of a Portland firearms dealer in December 2020.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in the early morning of December 31, 2020, Cotto and Christopher Matos burglarized Central Connecticut Arms, a federally-licensed firearms dealer in Portland, and stole 14 firearms.  On January 5, 2021, investigators searched an SUV that Cotto and Matos used during the burglary and recovered clothing that Cotto wore during the burglary, a hammer and tire iron Cotto and Matos used to break into Central Connecticut Arms, and other evidence. Investigators also found Matos’s DNA at the crime scene, and a subsequent search of his residence revealed clothing he wore during the burglary.

On January 4, 2021, Hartford Police arrested Cotto on unrelated firearm and drug possession charges.  He has been detained since his arrest.

To date, three of the firearms stolen from Central Connecticut Arms have been recovered by law enforcement.  Two were recovered by the FBI in an unrelated narcotics investigation, and the third was seized by Waterbury Police after it was fired into the air during an altercation.  The remaining 11 firearms are unaccounted for.

On April 21, 2022, Cotto pleaded guilty to theft of firearms from a licensee, and unlawful possession of firearms by a felon.

Matos, 34, of New Britain, pleaded guilty to the same charges and, on October 31, 2022, was sentenced to 100 months of imprisonment.

Judge Dooley ordered Cotto and Matos to pay $21,528.91 in restitution.

This investigation was conducted by ATF and the Portland, New Britain, Berlin and East Longmeadow (Mass.) Police Departments.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Ruff.

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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