Gang member charged in connection with 2 attempted murders

NEWARK, NJ — A member of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips appeared in court Aug. 12 on charges that include two attempted murders charged as part of a RICO conspiracy, as well as narcotics trafficking, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Sean Hills, aka “Half A Brain,” “Half” and “Rydaman,” 28, of Newark, was charged in a two-count indictment with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, conspiracy and distribution of cocaine. Hills made his initial court appearance and was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court.

Since 2015, more than 80 members of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips have been convicted federally in connection with multiple murders, attempted murders, shootings, drug trafficking, firearms charges and witness intimidation as part of a coordinated investigation by the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement partners.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Hills is allegedly a long-time member of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips and has the gang’s senior hierarchy tattooed on his face. On Dec. 15, 2012, Hills repeatedly shot Victim-1 near the area of South 14th Street and 14th Avenue, an area that Hills and other gang members were allegedly trying to take over as part of their drug-trafficking territory. On Feb. 1, 2013, Hills shot Victim-2 numerous times. Both victims survived the attacks. Hills is additionally charged with separate instances of possession with intent to distribute of cocaine.

Hills faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years on each count for the RICO conspiracy and the narcotics charges, and a fine of $250,000 on the RICO conspiracy charge and $1 million on the drug charge.

The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until found guilty in a court of law.