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Newark Drug Trafficking Rink Indicted

Nine Members of Newark Drug Trafficking Ring Charged in Superseding Indictment

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NEWARK, N.J. – Nine members of a drug trafficking organization were charged today in a superseding indictment for their roles in heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine distribution scheme that sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of illegal drugs out of a residential building on Fairmount Avenue in Newark, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

The 34-count superseding indictment charges all defendants with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, 400 grams or more of fentanyl, and 280 grams or more of crack from July 2020 through June 2021. All defendants are charged with at least one count of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances from purchases recorded by the FBI and from drug transactions observed by local law enforcement. The defendants were originally charged by complaint and arrested on June 29, 2021. Seven of the defendants have been detained since June. (See chart below)

Three of the defendants – Kasim Thurston, Jamar Hall, and Angel Kearney – are charged with firearms violations for possessing firearms and ammunition while having been previously convicted of a felony offense. Hall and Kearney were also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Three other members of the drug organization have previously entered guilty pleas. Elijah Shumate, 50, of Newark, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti on Jan. 13, 2022, to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Andre Fuller, 31, of Caldwell, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before Judge Martinotti on Jan. 10, 2022, to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Antwan Williams, 30, of Newark, pleaded guilty before Judge Martinotti on Dec. 9, 2021, to conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

The defendants allegedly took advantage of the residential building’s location to sell drugs from the porch area, which was guarded by a locked steel door and difficult for law enforcement to infiltrate despite a constant stream of buyers approaching the front porch area day and night. Defendants stored drugs and guns in apartments that they controlled.

The defendants worked in shifts from 6:00 a.m. until late in the evening. Buyers came on foot, in vehicles and on bicycles to purchase the illegal drugs. The heroin sold was of a high quality and was sold in various “brands,” which were stamped onto the glassine envelopes that contained the heroin and fentanyl, allowing buyers to identify and purchase the brands that they preferred. FBI surveillance and local law enforcement witnessed hundreds of narcotics transactions from July 2020 through June 2021.

The count of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, 400 grams or more of fentanyl, and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and a maximum fine of $10 million. The charges of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million; the charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison  and a maximum fine of $250,000; and the charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges and guilty pleas. He also thanked police officers and detectives of the Newark Police Department, officers of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, detectives of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, officers of the East Orange and Bloomfield police departments, and the Essex County Department of Corrections for their assistance with the investigation.

Three other organization members are charged by complaint and their cases are pending. The charges and allegations contained in the complaint and superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government is represented by Senior Trial Counsel Robert Frazer of the Organized

Crime/Gangs Unit in the Criminal Division in Newark.

*denotes free on bail

Defendant

Age

Residence

Charge

Counts

Angel Kearney, aka “Jim,” aka “Dred”

31

East Orange, New Jersey

Conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime

1, 21, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31 and 32

Thomas Gibson, aka “Tommy,”

44

Newark

Conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine;

1, 6, 13, 18, 19, 20 and 34

Jamar Hall, aka “Goo”

35

Hamilton, New Jersey

Conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime

1, 21, 22, 23,and 25

Kasim Thurston, aka “Kai,” aka “Kaz”

37

Newark

Conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime

1, 12, 15, 17 and 33

Ibn Thurston, aka “Wheezy,” aka “Saheed”

33

Newark

Conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine

1 and 7

*Kevin Hall

31

Newark

Conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine

1, 3, 8, 24, and 28

Akim Gibson, aka “Ching”

24

Newark

Conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine

1, 11, 12, and 14

*Shalamar McCall, aka “Shaggy”

34

Newark

Conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine

1, 9, and 10

Hakis Moses, aka “Hak”

43

Newark

Conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine

1, 2, 4, and 5

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