BANGOR, Maine — A leader of a gang that brought crack cocaine from Connecticut to the Bangor area to be sold and transported guns purchased illegally in Maine back to Connecticut pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Connecticut to federal racketeering, drug trafficking and money laundering charges.
Jeffrey Bunton, 32, of New Haven, Connecticut, also admitted he participated in four gang-related murders and one attempted murder in New Haven.
Benton, who has been in federal custody since May of 2012, was one of 10 people indicted by a federal grand jury in February of 2015 for alleged involvement in dealing crack cocaine in Greater Bangor.
At the time of Benton’s indictment, federal prosecutors alleged he received 10 illegally purchased firearms he paid for with cash or drugs.
The guns were purchased from Bangor-area pawn shops by people who lied about who they were purchasing them for, according to court documents.
According to federal prosecutors, Benton was a leader of the Red Side Guerilla Brims, a sect of the Bloods street gang based in New Haven.
An investigation by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and New Haven police indicated that members and associates of the Red Side Guerilla Brims were engaged in narcotics trafficking and related acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, assaults and armed robberies.
“Jeffrey Benton was the leader of the Red Side Guerilla Brims, a savage and ruthless narcotics gang that terrorized New Haven in 2011 and 2012,” U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said Friday.
“Benton and his RSGB gang members not only trafficked in crack cocaine and firearms from Connecticut to Maine but far worse — they were responsible for multiple homicides. … We hope that his guilty plea today brings some small degree of solace to the victims’ families,” she said.
Benton pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity, which, because it involves the commission of murder, carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base, which carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Benton is scheduled to be sentenced June 27.
If the binding plea agreement filed Friday is accepted, Benton faces a sentence of between 360 months and 480 months of imprisonment. The government will argue in support of sentence of 480 months — or 40 years — of imprisonment.