Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Hartford Man Sentenced to 6 Years in Federal Prison for Distributing Crack Cocaine
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that COURTNEY BYRD, also known as “Buck,” 32, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 72 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for distributing crack cocaine.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in February and March 2015, BYRD distributed approximately 98 grams of crack cocaine to an individual working with law enforcement.
On March 5, 2015, BYRD twice fled at a high rate of speed from law enforcement officers who were attempting to stop his vehicle, first in East Hartford and then in Hartford. During his second flight, BYRD hit a pedestrian in the area of Ann Uccello Street and Church Street in Hartford. The victim suffered a broken leg. A six-year-old child was in BYRD’s car at the time.
On March 19, 2015, an individual working with law enforcement ordered an ounce of crack cocaine from BYRD. BYRD was arrested as he came out of his residence to consummate the transaction.
BYRD has been detained since his arrest. On August 26, 2015, he pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).
BYRD’s criminal history includes multiple felony convictions
This prosecution stems from Project Longevity, a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence in Connecticut’s major cities. Through Project Longevity, community members and law enforcement directly engage with members of groups that are prone to commit violence. A critical component of the Project Longevity strategy is the “call-in,” a face-to-face meeting where Project Longevity partners engage group members and deliver a community message against violence, a law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence and an offer of help for those who want it.
BYRD is alleged to be a member of a Garden Street group known as the Chicken Coop. On April 1, 2014, BYRD and other members of the Chicken Coop attended a call-in in Hartford. The following day, a Chicken Coop member who attended the call-in is alleged to have shot an individual in Hartford. BYRD’s associate is being prosecuted in state court for that offense, and also in federal court in Massachusetts for a heroin trafficking offense.
Five additional members of the Chicken Coop are being prosecuted in federal court in Connecticut for drug trafficking and firearms offenses, and five are being prosecuted in state court for assault and drug offenses.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Hartford Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson.