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Two Former New Haven Gang Members Sentenced To Decades In Prison

Two former New Haven gang members who were involved in at least seven murders and numerous other crimes were sentenced Wednesday to decades in prison, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Jeffrey Benton, also known as “Tall Man,” “Fresh” and “JT,” and the former leader of the Red Side Guerilla Brims, was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in March to federal racketeering, drug trafficking and money laundering offenses.

Benton, 32, admitted his involvement in several acts of gang-related violence, including the non-fatal shooting of an individual in February 2011 and the murders of Kevin Lee, Donnell Allick, Derrick Cooper and Donald Bolden between April 2011 and March 2012, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release.

Benton also admitted taking part in the gang-related trafficking of crack cocaine in Connecticut and Maine, and transferring the proceeds from Maine to Connecticut by using Western Union, the release said.

Robert Short, also known as “Santana”, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Short, 30, pleaded guilty on March 21 to one count of causing death through the use of a firearm and admitted that Benton had ordered him to kill Derrick Cooper, a leader of a rival gang, the release said.

The Red Side Guerilla Brims, a Bloods street gang based in New Haven, was dismantled in 2015 by a joint operation of New Haven police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the release said.

“The Red Side Guerilla Brims, under the violent and brutal leadership of Jeffrey Benton, terrorized neighborhoods in New Haven in 2011 and 2012,” U.S. Attorney Dierdre M. Daly said in the release. “Benton and his RSGB cohorts, including Robert Short, were responsible for at least seven murders, multiple attempted murders, armed robberies, and drug and gun-running between Connecticut and Maine.”

As a result of the lengthy investigation, 21 members and associates of the gang have convicted of federal charges, the release said.

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