BRISTOL, CT – John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven has returned an indictment charging XAVIER CRUZ, 26, of Bristol with firearm offenses.
The indictment was returned on December 21. Cruz appeared yesterday via video conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. Richardson, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges, and is released on a $100,000 bond.
It is alleged that, 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. The handgun’s serial number had been removed. Investigators subsequently determined that Cruz had possessed the firearm before discarding it.
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.
The indictment charges Cruz with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and one count of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Bristol Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tara Levens and Margaret Donovan.
This prosecution has been brought through Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone.