Twenty-Eight Members and Associates of Paterson Bloods Street Gang Charged in Manhattan Federal Court with Distributing Heroin, Crack Cocaine, and Powder Cocaine and with Firearms Offenses
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 24, 2014|
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Aaron T. Ford, the Special Agent in Charge of the Newark Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); William Fraher, the Acting Chief of Police of the Paterson Police Department, and Gary F. Giardina, the Chief of Police of the Clifton Police Department, today announced the unsealing of a superseding indictment charging 28 members and associates of the Bloods street gang operating in Passaic County, New Jersey, principally in the city of Paterson, with distribution and possession with the intent to distribute heroin, “crack” cocaine, and powder cocaine. The indictment also charges three of the defendants with brandishing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking activity and with being felons unlawfully in possession of firearms.
Of the 28 defendants named in the superseding indictment, nine were taken into custody in a weekend sweep. Those nine defendants were presented in Manhattan federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman and detained. Five other defendants are presently detained in state custody on unrelated charges and will be writted into federal custody. One defendant, Hakim Lowery, remains at large. The other 13 defendants were arrested on earlier occasions on the underlying indictments, and all remain detained.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Once again we see the convergence of drugs, guns, and violence that plagues neighborhoods, threatens their inhabitants, and spreads potentially lethal narcotics from city to city and across state lines. To keep our neighborhoods free of illegal drugs and gang violence, we will continue to work closely with our local law enforcement partners to vigorously enforce federal drug and firearms laws.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford said, “Dismantling violent gangs is a continuing priority for the FBI. Our efforts to address gang violence are not new, but we are working with our partners with increased manpower and increased urgency to address current circumstances. Today’s arrests and charges are the result of a successful, long term investigation conducted by the FBI and the Paterson and Clifton Police Departments.”
Paterson Police Department Acting Chief William Fraher said, “It is critically important for cities like Paterson to leverage their existing collaborative relationships with federal and local law enforcement to reduce not only the actual violence in our communities but also reducing the perception of fear which can be just as important.”
Clifton Police Department Chief Gary F. Giardina said, “Problems faced by law enforcement do not stop at the city borders. What is one city’s problem most likely is the next city’s and at times overlaps into the next state. It is for these reasons that it is imperative that agencies work in partnership to be successful. In this case, Clifton Police worked in partnership with the Paterson Police and FBI in order to bring this investigation to a successful conclusion.”
According to the allegations in the superseding indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
Various “sets” of the Bloods, particularly the Fruit Town Brims and Sex Money Murder, among others, operated in Paterson, often coordinating, collaborating, and working together (defined in the Indictment as the “Paterson Bloods”). Ranking members of the Paterson Bloods would often meet to resolve disputes between their respective “soldier” members of the sets and could direct punishment against non-members. Among these punishments were that individuals were to be assaulted or killed by members of the Paterson Bloods.
The Paterson Bloods operated the drug markets in certain central locations in Paterson, New Jersey, including, in particular: North Main Street from East Main Street to Jefferson Street (an area known as “The Main”); Graham Avenue/Rosa Parks Boulevard from Lyon Street to Franklin Street (“The Boulevard”); Graham Avenue/Rosa Parks Boulevard from 12th Avenue to Hamilton Avenue; 12th Avenue from East 22nd Street to East 24th Street; 10th Avenue from East 26th Street to East 30th Street; Governor Street from Graham Avenue to Summer Street (“Up the Hill”); and Park Avenue from Madison Avenue to East 16th Street. Members of the Paterson Bloods were permitted to sell heroin and “crack” cocaine in these areas. Generally, non-members, outsiders, and rival narcotics dealers were prohibited or prevented from distributing narcotics in areas controlled by the Paterson Bloods. Certain individuals—such as people who had grown up in areas controlled by the Paterson Bloods, people of neutral gang or neighborhood group affiliation, or marijuana dealers who often sold to members of the Paterson Bloods—were permitted to distribute narcotics in areas controlled by the Paterson Bloods but did so without the protection of the members of the Paterson Bloods and at the risk of being robbed by members of the gang. For example, on June 17, 2013, a drug dispute broke out in the area of 12th Avenue and 22nd Street, during which the defendant Rachaun Parker, a member of the Fruit Town Brims set of the Bloods, assisted an individual who was considered a “neutral” from his neighborhood. Members of the Fruit Town Brims, including defendants Hakim Lowery and Jamar Edwards, violently beat Parker for violating the rules of the set.
Members of the Paterson Bloods and their associates committed and conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence to protect and expand their drug trafficking operations and to protect fellow members of the gang. These acts included beatings, stabbings, and shootings intended to prevent people not affiliated with the Paterson Bloods from distributing narcotics in areas controlled by the gang, or to dissuade members of rival gangs, such as the Latin Kings, from encroaching on territory controlled by the Paterson Bloods.
Members of the charged narcotics distribution conspiracy agreed to possess and distribute heroin, “crack” cocaine, and cocaine powder in the Bronx, Manhattan, and New Jersey. On at least two occasions, certain defendants, armed with loaded guns, delivered what they believed to be approximately one kilogram of cocaine to an address in the Bronx in return for delivery fees.
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The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI, the Paterson Police Department, and the Clifton Police Department. The investigation is a result of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force program, and it combined the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with local law enforcement.
The Office’s Violent Crimes Unit is overseeing the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justina L. Geraci and Michael D. Maimin are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolina A. Fornos is in charge of the asset forfeiture components of the case.
The charges contained in the superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.