Newark man convicted of possession of heroin, firearm

NEWARK, NJ — A Newark man previously convicted of four felonies in state court and a federal drug distribution crime was convicted by a federal jury on April 4 of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of a handgun while committing a drug crime and being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Jihad Garrett, 35, was convicted after a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court. The jury deliberated for two and a half hours before returning the guilty verdicts.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial, on Feb. 23, 2018, Newark police officers saw Garrett in a vehicle that was similar to a vehicle wanted in a series of carjacking and shooting incidents over the previous month. When the police officers approached the car, Garrett told them, among other things, that he also was a police officer. While talking with Garrett, the police officers saw that Garrett had more than $2,500 in cash rolled up in his breast pockets. After a canine unit indicated that there were drugs in the car, the car was towed and the police obtained a search warrant to conduct a further search of the car. The police found more than 500 individual doses of heroin packaged for street-level distribution and a .40 caliber handgun in the front seat area of the car.

Garrett had previously been convicted of four drug felonies in Essex and Union counties. In 2011, Garrett was sentenced to 74 months in federal prison after being convicted for distribution of heroin.

The defendant is facing a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 15.