U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Jersey
(973) 645-2888
July 9, 2015

Heroin Supplier and Crack Cocaine Distributor for the Grape Street Crips Gang Both Plead Guilty

NEWARK, NJ—Two drug suppliers for the Grape Street Crips street gang today admitted distributing large quantities of heroin and crack-cocaine in and around Newark, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today.

Toma Williams, a/k/a “T-Dubbs,” 38, and Jihad Coles, a/k/a “Half Dead,” 30, both of Newark, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judges Madeline Cox Arleo and Esther Salas, respectively, in Newark federal court. Williams pleaded guilty today to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Coles pleaded guilty on July 8, 2015 to a separate information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack-cocaine.

In May 2015, over the course of three weeks, 50 alleged members and associates of the Grape Street Crips were charged in criminal complaints that alleged drug-trafficking, physical assaults, and witness intimidation. The charges were the result of a long-running investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the FBI, in conjunction with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Newark Police Department and Essex County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Narcotics. Over the course of the entire investigation, 71 defendants have been charged with federal and state charges.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Williams admitted that, between March 2014 and Oct. 3, 2014, he conspired with others to distribute kilogram quantities of heroin to members and associates of the Grape Street Crips. During the course of a wiretap investigation of Williams, the DEA learned that Williams was a supplier of heroin to members of the Grape Street Crips operating in and around the area of North 5th Avenue and 6th Street in Newark. In addition, Williams ran a drug-trafficking organization that supplied heroin to other individuals in and around Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey. Following Williams’ arrest, DEA agents discovered a sophisticated secret compartment inside Williams’ car. Inside that secret compartment, Williams had approximately two kilograms of heroin and a loaded semi-automatic firearm, which Williams admitted today he used to protect his supply of heroin and his drug profits.

Coles admitted that, between March 2012 and August 2012, he conspired with others to distribute hundreds of grams of crack-cocaine at the Mildred Terrell Homes public-housing complex located on Riverview Terrace in Newark, New Jersey. As a long-time member of the Grape Street Crips, Coles admitted today that he served as an organizer and leader of the crack-cocaine distribution conspiracy.

The heroin conspiracy charge to which Williams pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a fine of up to $10 million. The firearms charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison—which must run consecutive to the sentence imposed for the heroin conspiracy—a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000. The crack-cocaine conspiracy charge to which Coles pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a fine of up to $10 million. Williams and Coles are scheduled to be sentenced on Oct 19, 2015 and Nov. 9, 2015, respectively.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl Kotowski, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel, for the investigation leading to the charges. Fishman also thanked prosecutors and detectives of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray; police officers and detectives of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Director Eugene Venable and Chief Anthony Campos; and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, for their work on the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Osmar J. Benvenuto, Elizabeth M. Harris, and Barry A. Kamar of the Criminal Division in Newark.

This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

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Defense counsel:

  • Toma Williams: Linda Foster, Esq., Newark
  • Jihad Coles: David A. Ruhnke, Esq., Montclair, New Jersey
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