17 defendants charged in takedown of Newark’s ‘Famous Boyz’ street gang

NEWARK, NJ — Criminal charges against 17 members, associates and drug suppliers of a Newark street gang that allegedly distributed heroin and crack cocaine and possessed and used firearms in furtherance of the gang’s drug-trafficking activities were announced Oct. 11 by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

The charges are the result of a long-running wiretap investigation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Newark Police Department and numerous state and local partners. The charges include conspiracies to distribute one kilogram of heroin and/or 280 grams of crack cocaine, possession of multiple firearms in connection with drug trafficking crimes, and unlawful possession of firearms by convicted felons.

The 14 defendants arrested Oct. 11 appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer later that day in Newark federal court; three defendants were already in custody on state charges.

“The criminal complaint unsealed today describes an active marketplace where heroin and crack cocaine are sold openly on the streets of Newark and surrounding areas and illegal firearms and threats of violence are used to protect that trade,” Carpenito said. “The wiretaps and surveillance provide a glimpse into the dangerous world these defendants have created in one neighborhood. Our office, working together with our federal and local law enforcement partners, is focusing on ridding neighborhoods of this type of activity, one gang at a time. Today’s arrests signal an important step in our continuing fight to retake our streets from violent gangs and drug dealers.”

“In conjunction with Attorney Gen. Sessions’ Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative and ATF’s Violent Crime Reduction and Prevention strategy, today’s events mark the culmination of over a year of collaborative effort between ATF and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners,” ATF Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito, Newark Field Division, said. “Through the comprehensive use of Crime Gun Intelligence, law enforcement has removed a component of the criminal element that was driving violent crime in the community.”

“This joint investigation was vital in removing guns from the streets of Newark,” Valerie A. Nickerson, special agent in charge of the DEA’s New Jersey division, said. “Every gun seized has the potential to save a life. The DEA will continue to work with our other federal, state and local law enforcement partners to have the biggest impact throughout the region.”

“A significant portion of the work of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is fueled by easy access to illegal guns,” acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II said. “Whether we are dealing with homicides or street level drug deals, the availability of guns often turn relatively minor disputes into deadly clashes. Anything that we can do to trace these weapons once they have been used in a crime or stem the flow of illicit guns into the hands of criminals makes our job easier and the streets safer.”

“We are pleased that today’s advanced gun-tracing technology affords us the ability to link shootings occurring in the city of Newark back to those individuals suspected of using the weapons involved in committing crimes on our streets,” Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court, the defendants are members and associates of the Famous Boyz, a subset of the Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang — which dealt significant quantities of heroin and crack cocaine, primarily in and around the area of South 18th Street and 15th Avenue in Newark, which often was referred to by the gang as the “8 Block,” “18th” or simply by reference to the number “8.”

Heroin sold by Famous Boyz members allegedly contained a fentanyl analogue, an extremely dangerous and highly addictive substance. As recorded by police, one heroin customers actually complained about the fentanyl, telling gang member John Mosley: “I’ll be honest — ’cause it’s fentanyl, bro, I don’t want to kill myself, you know what I’m trying to say.” After Mosley reportedly acknowledged the customer’s concern, the customer added that he was just trying to “have a good time, not kill myself.”

Members of the Famous Boyz allegedly used social media to promote the gang’s criminal activities, advertising their narcotics trafficking activities and proceeds and threatening both rival gang members and any individuals who consider cooperating with law enforcement. For example, gang members have used the mantra, “No Face No Case,” and spread the word that if individuals are “ratting,” there’s “gone be a murder.”

According to law enforcement, members of the Famous Boyz who sold narcotics also enriched themselves by committing other crimes, including robberies. Law enforcement officers, acting on information obtained from a wiretap, arrested one gang member, Angelo West, while he was allegedly attempting to commit a robbery. After they seized a .40 caliber firearm from the scene, Mosley was overheard complaining to gang member Javon Holmes “so all the rachets gone” and “damn, we just lost all the straps,” referring to the Famous Boyz losing their firearms.

Law enforcement continues to investigate more than a dozen shootings that are linked to a rivalry between the Famous Boyz and another Newark gang.

Each of the 17 arrested men have been charged with one to all four of the following offenses: conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, which carries a prison sentence of a 10-year mandatory minimum up to life; conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, which carries a prison sentence of a five-year mandatory minimum up to 40 years; possession of firearms during drug-trafficking crimes, which carries a prison sentence of a five-year mandatory minimum up to life, to be served consecutively to any other sentence; and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Defendants include:

  • John Mosley, aka “Breezy” and “Brazy,” 31, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin;
  • Javon Holmes, aka “J-Dot,” 19, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin;
  • Patricio Hernandez, 34, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine;
  • Jonathan Hernandez, 24, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine;
  • Jonathan Garcia, aka “Bebo,” 34, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine;
  • Jahid Vauters, aka “K” and “KO,” 30, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, possession of firearms during drug-trafficking crimes and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon;
  • Eugene Williams, aka “Popa” and “Papa,” 52, of Irvington, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin;
  • Angelo West, aka “Come Up,” 20, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and possession of firearm during drug-trafficking crimes;
  • Queheem Bethea, aka “Troub,” 20, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin;
  • David Lamar, aka “Brazy Ru,” 27, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine;
  • Ibn Saadiq, aka “Zero,” 21, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin;
  • Malik Minor, aka “YK,” 21, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin;
  • Omar Jones, aka “Torch,” 19, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin;
  • Saeed Dawes, aka “Nasty,” 21, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin;
  • Karen Armstrong, 27, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin;
  • Robert Dorrah, aka “Cash Out,” 20, of Newark, charged with conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin; and
  • Shaka McKinney, 24, of Newark, charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proved guilty in a court of law.

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