Newark man sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking

NEWARK, NJ — A Newark man was sentenced May 15 to 10 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin and 240 grams of crack cocaine, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Maurice McPhatter, aka “Ree,” 47, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to a superseding information charging him with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin and more than 28 grams of cocaine base. 

This sentence follows a coordinated takedown in September 2017 of seven members of a drug-trafficking organization led by Ahmad Johnson, aka “OC,” 38. Also charged were Cory Canzater, aka “Big C”; Willie McPhatter, aka “Roc”; Keith Henderson; and Sacha Negron, all of Newark.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from September 2016 through June 2017, Maurice McPhatter, Johnson and other members of their drug-trafficking organization engaged in a drug-distribution conspiracy that operated in and around Newark. Maurice McPhatter was a runner, who distributed narcotics for the organization.

Through the authorized interception of telephone calls and text messages, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative means, law enforcement learned that Johnson was a leader of the conspiracy and was responsible for obtaining wholesale amounts of narcotics, including heroin and cocaine, and processing and packaging the narcotics for sale. Johnson found users to “test” the narcotics to evaluate the quality, potency and danger for broader distribution. After the narcotics were tested, runners, including Maurice McPhatter, sold the narcotics to other distributors and users. At the time of the arrests, law enforcement found more than a kilogram of heroin, more than 200 grams of crack cocaine and more than 150 grams of fentanyl.

Johnson pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy and was sentenced April 15, 2019, to 15 years in prison. Willie McPhatter, Henderson and Negron have all pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges and are awaiting sentencing. Canzater was convicted in March 2020 of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances, one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, following a one-week trial. Canzater is awaiting sentencing

In addition to the prison term, McNulty sentenced Maurice McPhatter to five years of supervised release.