In Prison For Murder Of Bystander And Related Drug-Trafficking Charges
NEWARK, N.J. – A member of the Grape Street Crips gang was sentenced today to life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute heroin, and other drug crimes, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Khalil Stafford, a/k/a “Stod,” a/k/a “Homicide,” 35, of Newark, was previously convicted following a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo, who imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court. Stafford had been acquitted of the murder charge following a 2013 state jury trial in Essex County.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
On June 19, 2010, during a family cookout on Garside Street in Newark, Stafford – a long-time member of the Grape Street Crips – confronted an individual about a drug debt. Stafford and several other gang-members left the cookout to retrieve firearms and later returned. They fired more than a dozen shots at the person whom Stafford originally confronted. A woman who was not involved in the dispute was standing on a nearby porch, and was shot and killed. Two other people were wounded and survived.
Stafford sold heroin and cocaine at the James Baxter Terrace housing complex from 2003 until it was demolished in 2009. After Baxter Terrace was torn down, Stafford continued to distribute heroin and cocaine at the Wynona Lipman public housing complex. In 2014, Stafford and a conspirator sold to DEA confidential informants nearly $20,000 worth of heroin in separate transactions.
Stafford was charged – along with 13 other defendants –with RICO conspiracy, murder in aid racketeering, conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram of more of heroin. All 14 defendants have now been convicted.
Another 66 members and associates of the Grape Street Crips who were arrested in a coordinated takedown in May 2015 were separately charged with drug-trafficking, physical assaults, and witness intimidation, and all have been convicted. These individuals include:
• Corey Hamlet, a/k/a “C-Blaze,” 41, of Newark, sentenced to life in prison;
• Kwasi Mack, a/k/a “Welches,” 30, of Newark, sentenced to 45 years in prison and five years’ supervised release;
• Tony Phillips, a/k/a “Blue,” 28, of Newark, sentenced to life in prison;
• Ahmad Manley, a/k/a “Fresh,” 32, of Summit, New Jersey, sentenced to 35 years in prison and five years’ supervised release;
• Rashan Washington, a/k/a “Shoota,” 31, of Newark, sentenced to 30 years in prison and ten years’ supervised release;
• Justin Carnegie, a/k/a “Dew Hi,” 31, of Newark, sentenced to 25 years in prison and ten years’ supervised release;
• Ahmed Singleton, a/k/a “Gangsta Mu,” 30, of Newark, sentenced to 19 years in prison and five years’ supervised release;
• Eric Concepcion, a/k/a “Wax,” 33, of Newark, sentenced to 18 years in prison and five years’ supervised release;
• Hakeem Vanderhall, a/k/a “Keem,” 34, of Newark, sentenced to 18 years in prison and five years’ supervised release;
• Hanee Cureton, a/k/a “City,” 34, of Springfield, New Jersey, sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years’ supervised release; and
• James Gutierrez, a/k/a “Bad News,” 27, of Newark, sentenced to 11 years in prison and five years’ supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson, and special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II, police officers and detectives of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose, and the Essex County Sherriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, for their assistance with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Osmar J. Benvenuto, Chief of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit within the Criminal Division in Newark, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard J. Ramsay of the Appeals Division in Newark.
This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
Defense counsel: John McMahon Esq., West Orange, New Jersey