A Connecticut man described by prosecutors as a “gang enforcer” who traveled to Maine to oversee the organization’s drug trafficking operations was sentenced Wednesday in Connecticut to 18 years in federal prison.

Luis Padilla, also known as ‘Chewie,’ was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Janet C. Hall for his role in a violent New Haven, Connecticut-based street gang. Padilla was also sentenced to five years of supervised release.

The 25-year-old Padilla, of New Haven, belonged to a gang known as the Red Side Guerilla Brims – part of the Bloods street gang, according to a news release by John H. Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

“Padilla was an RSGB enforcer who committed shootings and robberies on behalf of the gang. He also traveled to Maine several times at (Jeffrey) Benton’s direction to watch over the gang’s drug trafficking operation,” Durham said in the release.

Durham said that the investigation revealed that the gang, under the leadership of Jeffrey Benton, transported crack cocaine and other drugs to Bangor to be sold in the city and surrounding communities.

The gang also traded narcotics for firearms in Maine, and brought those weapons back to New Haven where they were distributed to gang members.

Benton, also known as “Tall Man” and “Fresh,” pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal racketeering, drug trafficking and money laundering charges as well as taking part in four murders. He was sentenced in October to 40 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Members of the enterprise and their associates committed, attempted and threatened to commit acts of violence, including murder and robbery, to protect and expand the enterprise’s criminal operation,” a federal indictment states.

As a result of the investigation, dubbed “Operation Red Side,” 21 members and associates of the Red Side Guerilla Brims have been convicted of federal charges in Connecticut and Maine. Padilla was the last to be sentenced.

Padilla has been in police custody since Aug. 18, 2014. Over time, Padilla began assisting prosecutors in the case.

The investigation resolved seven murders, four attempted murders and four armed robberies dating back to 2009.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Hampden, Maine, Police Department participated in the investigation.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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