For Immediate Release
Nine Defendants Indicted for Drug and Firearms Conspiracies
NEWARK, N.J. – Nine people were arraigned today on illegal drug and firearms charges contained in a 17-count indictment, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Gilbert Bermudez, aka “Troub,” 29; Brian Elijah Mitchell, aka “Slash,” 32; Jaahan Mitchell, 32; Keith Rogers, aka “Dog,” aka “Z,” 45; Isaiah Bullock, 26; Jennifer Rivera, 41; and Shamika Richardson, 25, all of Newark; Mark Washington, 58, of Irvington, New Jersey; and Torell Brown, 46, of Orangeburg, South Carolina were indicted on various drug and weapons charges last month.
According to documents filed in these case and statements made in court:
On May 14, 2021, in the vicinity of the Pennington Court housing complex in Newark, Bermudez, Brian Mitchell, and Jaahan Mitchell were involved in a shooting. On May 20, 2021, the firearm that Bermudez used in that shooting was recovered from his Essex County residence, loaded with seven rounds of 9mm ammunition.
From April 2021 through May 18, 2021, Brown, a convicted felon, conspired to unlawfully sell firearms. He trafficked six firearms and a large quantity of ammunition from South Carolina to New Jersey, with the intent to sell these weapons to at least one New Jersey resident. On May 18, 2021, Washington attempted to thwart law enforcement from recovering certain of these firearms.
From March 2021 through May 18, 2021, Brown also conspired with Brian Mitchell and Rogers to traffic firearms and ammunition into New Jersey from at least one other state and to use those firearms and ammunition in connection with at least one other felony offense.
From October 2020 through July 23, 2021, Rogers, Bullock, Rivera, and Richardson conspired to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, 100 grams or more of heroin, and a quantity of cocaine base. Rogers and Bullock, both convicted felons, possessed firearms. The four defendants maintained two Pennington Court residences for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, and using a controlled substance, and possessed with the intent to distribute controlled substances.
Each firearms trafficking conspiracy carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The counts of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The drug conspiracy count, and the count of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, each carry a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 million. Each count of maintaining a drug-involved premises carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. The counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime each carry a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
It is also part of the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) in Newark. The VCI was formed in August 2017 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the City of Newark’s Department of Public Safety to combat violent crime in and around Newark. As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate and pool resources to prosecute violent offenders who endanger the safety of the community. The VCI is composed of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the ATF, the DEA New Jersey Division, the U.S. Marshals, the Newark Department of Public Safety, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, N.J. State Board of Parole, Union County Jail, N.J. State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center, N.J. Department of Corrections, the East Orange Police Department, and the Irvington Police Department.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; and special agents and task force officers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews, with the investigations leading to the charges. He also thanked the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Director Brian O’Hara, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II, for their significant assistance with these cases.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francesca Liquori, Chief of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Samantha Fasanello of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit.
The charges and allegations contained in the superseding indictment and all related complaints are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.