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Stratford Man, 23, May Face Life In Prison On Federal Drug, Weapons Charges

Mark Leigh-James Photo Credit: Stamford Police Department
Mark Leigh-James Photo Credit: Courtesy of Stamford Police Department

STRATFORD, Conn. — A 23-year-old Stratford man was indicted Friday on charges of narcotics trafficking and possession of firearms after he sold drugs to undercover Fairfield police officers, according to Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. attorney for Connecticut.

Mark Leigh-James, also known as Rich, was arrested Oct. 5 on a federal criminal complaint. 

At the time of his arrest, Leigh-James was carrying a backpack that contained about 7.5 grams of heroin, Daly said. A subsequent search of his vehicle revealed a second backpack containing about 120 grams of methamphetamine, a loaded .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun and a loaded .44-caliber Magnum revolver, she said.

His arrested stemmed from an investigation headed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the Fairfield Police Department. 

As alleged in court documents, in July and August, Fairfield police made four controlled purchases of a total of about 58 grams of methamphetamine from Leigh-James. In August and September, Fairfield police and the DEA task force made two additional controlled purchases of a total of about 187 grams of methamphetamine from Leigh-James, according to Daly.

On Oct. 14, a federal grand jury in Bridgeport returned a nine-count indictment charging Leigh-James with two counts of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; and one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. 

The charges carry a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life in prison, Daly said.

The indictment also charges Leigh-James with four counts of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, methamphetamine; one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin; and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. If convicted of the firearm offense, Leigh-James faces a mandatory consecutive term of imprisonment of five years, Daly said.

Leigh-James has been detained since his arrest.

The case is being prosecuted Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy C. Brown.

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