June 30, 2015

Heroin Supplier to the Grape Street Crips Street Gang Admits to Conspiring to Sell Heroin in Newark, New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ—A heroin supplier to the Grape Street Crips street gang today admitted conspiring to distribute hundreds of grams of heroin in and around Newark, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today.

Gabriel Henderson, 35, of Newark, pleaded guilty before the U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to distribute heroin.

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 DEA and FBI, in conjunction with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Newark Police Department and Essex County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Narcotics. During the investigation, 71 defendants were charged with federal and state charges.

In addition to controlling drug-trafficking across large swaths of Newark, the Grape Street Crips routinely engaged in acts of violence—including murder, shootings, aggravated assaults, and witness intimidation. A federal grand jury has returned a second superseding indictment charging two of the defendants—Kwasi Mack, a/k/a “Welchs,” 26, of Belleville, New Jersey, and Corey Batts, a/k/a “C-Murder,” a/k/a “Cee,” 30, of Newark, two leaders of the Grape Street Crips—with numerous violent crimes in aid of racketeering, including attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

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

Henderson admitted that between December 2014 and May 2015, he conspired with others to distribute brick quantities of heroin to members and associates of the Grape Street Crips. Henderson and his conspirators sold heroin in and around the Pennington Court public-housing complex located on Pennington Street and the John W. Hyatt public-housing complex located on Hawkins Street, both in Newark.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl Kotowski in Newark, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel in Newark, for the investigation leading to the charges. He 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 drug conspiracy count to which Henderson pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential sentence of 40 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 19, 2015.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Osmar J. Benvenuto, Elizabeth M. Harris, and Barry 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, 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.

The charges and allegations contained in the federal criminal complaints and indictment are merely accusations, and the remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.