Drug supplier to violent street gang admits drug trafficking

NEWARK, NJ — On Nov. 14, a long-time drug supplier to members and associates of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips admitted his role in a conspiracy to distribute kilograms of heroin, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Hanee Cureton, aka “City” and “Fat Boy,” 34, of Newark, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court to conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram of heroin in the seventh superseding indictment.

Cureton and 13 other defendants were previously charged with, among other crimes, RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram of more of heroin. Thirteen of the 14 defendants charged in the indictment have been convicted and one is awaiting trial.

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.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, beginning in 2003, Cureton was a major supplier of heroin to members of the Grape Street Crips at the James Baxter Terrace housing complex until it was demolished in 2009.

After Baxter Terrace was torn down, Cureton continued to distribute heroin, even while he was serving a prior federal prison sentence for conspiracy to distribute heroin. On Nov. 12, 2013, Drug Enforcement Administration agents searched one of Cureton’s heroin mills, seizing more than a kilogram of heroin, cutting agents and packaging material. In 2014, Cureton sold to DEA confidential informants nearly $10,000 worth of heroin in one transaction alone. Cureton and his drug-trafficking organization were responsible for distributing hundreds of kilograms of heroin across Newark.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, if accepted by the court, Cureton faces a sentence of 12 years in federal prison and five years of supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 19.

Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Valerie A. Nickerson, with the investigation. 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 Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, for their work on the investigation.

The charges and allegations in the indictment against the defendant who is awaiting trial are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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