Police raided 11 houses in five towns Friday morning after a six-month narcotics investigation, Ansonia Police Chief Kevin Hale said.
Nine people were arrested on a variety of drug charges. Police seized crack cocaine, cash, two stolen handguns, and three stun guns.
The group busted Friday is thought to be part of a larger criminal organization responsible for several acts of street violence in the Valley, including at least one shooting in Derby.
“It’s a drug investigation, but what we’re trying to get at is not only the narcotics, but the street level violence we’ve seen throughout the Valley,” Hale said.
The raids also have a connection to the May 12 murder of 22-year-old Javon Zimmerman in Derby.
Zimmerman was shot to death in the parking lot at RJ’s Cafe, a bar on Elizabeth Street.
Zimmerman was a suspect in the drug investigation, Hale said.
“He was one of the prime targets in this effort, which predates that unfortunate murder,” the chief said. “We actually stepped up our effort to get this operation resolved when that happened.”
The Criminal Connections
Zimmerman’s best friend, Roosevelt Scott, 23, of Waterbury, was arrested as part of Friday’s raid, as were two of Javon’s relatives: Kassie Zimmerman, 25, of Waterbury and Sylvester Zimmerman, 53, of Ansonia.
Another suspect arrested Friday was Tyquan Bailey, 30, of New Haven.
His younger brother, Daycus Bailey, 29, is serving 10 years in prison for the ambush-style shooting of a man on Derby’s Chapel Street back in August 2009.
Bailey and two accomplices shot the man, who survived, because they thought he was responsible for shooting Javon Zimmerman’s older brother, Keyshon, outside a New Haven nightclub.
Keyshon Zimmerman, 27, is currently serving a four-year prison sentence for stealing a firearm and violating his probation. He is also thought to be connected to the group that gunned down Rodney Baldwin on Derby’s Hawthorne Avenue in September 2009. No charges have been filed in Baldwin’s murder.
The Ansonia Police Department’s Anti-Crime Unit led the investigation that resulted in Friday’s early-morning raids and arrests.
At an afternoon press conference at the old Ansonia Armory building, Hale said the people charged were part of a “drug distribution ring that has plagued the Naugatuck Valley for an extended period of time.”
The three videos below contain a portion of Friday’s press conference. Story continues after the videos.
In this video, Hale talks about some violent acts to which the “organization” may be connected:
The group busted Friday primarily dealt in crack cocaine, Hale said, though he added some marijuana was also recovered Friday.
Hale also said the group targeted in the raids was involved with several incidents of street violence.
“As is normally the case with drug operations, there have been incidents of street violence attributed to this organization, including several members who are already incarcerated,” Hale said.
He said Ansonia police would “continue to aggressively attack these types of narcotics operations and the inherent violence that accompany them.”
“We expect to make additional arrests in this case,” he added. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Hale said there are multiple drug distribution operations in the Valley.
“This was the biggest one, we feel,” Hale said.
The following addresses were raided as part of the investigation:
- 74 High St.
- 126 Howard Ave.
- 200 Beaver St.
- 477 Beaver St., apt 3G
- 31 Academy Hill Road
- 10 Cottage St.
- 76 Maple St.
- 90 West Easton St., #3
- 39 Irion St., third floor
- 118 Locust St., second floor
The following people were charged in connection to a search warrant:
Tyquan Bailey, 30, of New Haven: Charged with possession of narcotics, sale of narcotics, conspiracy to commit sale of narcotics and conspiracy to possess narcotics. He is being held on a $75,000 bond pending a court date of June 18.
Quayshaun Rhodes, 20, of Irion Street, Waterbury: Eight counts each of possession of narcotics, sale of narcotics, conspiracy to commit sale of narcotics and conspiracy to possess narcotics. He is being held on bonds totaling $600,000. Rhodes has a court date of June 18 in Superior Court in Derby.
Roosevelt Scott, 23, of Locust Street, Waterbury: Three counts each of possession of narcotics, sale of narcotics, conspiracy to commit sale of narcotics and conspiracy to possess narcotics. He is being held on bonds totaling $275,000 pending a June 18 appearance in Superior Court in Derby.
Quandre Howell, 19, of Sixth Street, Derby: Four counts each of possession of narcotics, sale of narcotics, conspiracy to commit sale of narcotics and conspiracy to possess narcotics. He is being held on a $200,000 bond pending a court date of June 18 in Superior Court in Derby. In addition, Howell faces charges from Derby police of possession of narcotics and possession within 1,500 feet of a school. He has a court date of June 12 for the Derby charges.
Kassie Zimmerman,, 25, of Wolcott Street, Waterbury: Charged with possession of narcotics, sale of narcotics, conspiracy to commit the sale of narcotics and conspiracy to possess narcotics. She is being held on a $75,000 bond pending a court date of June 18 in Superior Court in Derby.
Crystal Tinney, 24, of Beaver Street, Ansonia: Charged with possession of narcotics and possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a daycare. She is being held on a $50,000 bond pending a court date of June 18 in Superior Court in Derby.
Sylvester Zimmerman, 53, of High Street, Ansonia: Charged with criminal possession of a firearm and theft of a firearm. He is being held on a $100,000 bond pending a court date of June 18.
Charles Spencer, no date of birth provided, Howard Avenue, Ansonia: Charged with criminal possession of an electronic defense weapon (Taser). He is being held on a $5,000 bond pending a court date of June 18.
John Haddock,19, of Cottage Avenue, Derby: Charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of marijuana within 1,500 feet of a school. He was released on a promise to appear in court June 12.
Derby Homicide Probe Continues
Lt. Justin Stanko of the Derby Police Department said Friday the Javon Zimmerman homicide is still the detective division’s first priority.
The Police Department set up a phone line dedicated to tracking down leads to the case. It yielded at least two good calls, Stanko said.
Ansonia and Derby police have been sharing notes.
Whether or not Friday’s arrest helps the Derby homicide investigation remains to be seen, Stanko said.
Two days after her son Javon was shot and killed, Carolyn Zimmerman told the Valley Independent Sentinel that she suspected the killer was a family cousin. The person she named was picked up by police May 17 on a probation violation and is currently in jail.
A neighbor to one of the residences raided Friday, in a multi-family house on High Street in Ansonia, said someone from the Zimmerman family lived in the apartment.
The neighbor, who would only give his first name as “Joe,” was asleep about 5:45 a.m. when he heard a commotion, looked outside, and saw police raiding one of the duplex’s residences.
He said he was surprised the police raided it.
“I had no idea,” he said. “The people there honestly are very quiet and very nice people. I’ve never seen any type of (drug) activity there at all.”
‘We Don’t Ring Doorbells’
At Friday’s press conference, Mayor James Della Volpe commended Ansonia police and said the city is committed to taking drug dealers off the street.
“It’s an ongoing battle and we will continue to fight it,” the mayor said. “We’re doing the best we can. We understand what’s going out there on a daily basis.”
The chief commended police departments throughout the Valley and beyond for help in coordinating and executing the raids, which he said sends a message to drug dealers: “Just because you may be dealing in Ansonia, if you’re living somewhere else, we’re going to try to find you,” Hale said.
The three-person Anti-Crime Unit was created last year by taking three officers from the patrol division, Hale said. They build cases against specific criminal activities in Ansonia, often working undercover.
The landlord of the Howard Avenue home raided Friday, Robert Chop, showed up to the press conference because he said police damaged an antique door at his house when conducting the raid.
“They had their legal right to enter the way they did,” Chop said. “But if you put people in the front and back and ring the doorbell, someone would let you in. You don’t have to kick the doors in.”
Hale responded to Chop’s concerns by noting that having a search warrant allows police to make forcible entries.
“We don’t ring doorbells,” the chief said.