Eight defendants charged for their roles in heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine conspiracy

NEWARK, NJ — Eight people were charged for their respective roles in a heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine distribution organization that sold large quantities of controlled substances in the area of Columbia and South Orange avenues in Newark, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced Oct. 21.

Zacqual Lancaster, Maurice Lee, Felix Lesperance, Rodger Busby, Marcellus Allen, Jack Jean-Baptiste, Trevon Smith and Natequah Polk, all of Newark, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, 40 grams or more of fentanyl, and 28 grams or more of crack cocaine. Seven of the defendants are in custody; Lancaster remains at large.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, since January 2022, law enforcement conducted extensive surveillance of an open-air narcotics market in the area of Columbia and South Orange avenues, conducted numerous controlled purchases of narcotics, and analyzed telephone records, all of which demonstrated the extensive interactions between and among the conspirators.

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