For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 11, 2018
, United States Attorney
Seventeen Defendants Charged in Takedown of Newark's "Famous Boyz" Street Gang
Field Division: Newark Field Division
NEWARK, N.J. – Criminal charges against 17 members, associates, and drug suppliers of a Newark street gang that distributed heroin and crack cocaine and possessed and used firearms in furtherance of the gang’s drug trafficking activities were announced today by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
The charges are the result of a long-running wiretap investigation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Newark Police Department and numerous state and local partners. The charges include conspiracies to distribute one kilogram of heroin and/or 280 grams of crack cocaine, possession of multiple firearms in connection with drug trafficking crimes, and unlawful possession of firearms by convicted felons. (See attached chart for detailed information on defendants.)
The 14 defendants arrested today are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer this afternoon in Newark federal court. Three defendants were already in custody on state charges.
“The criminal complaint unsealed today describes an active marketplace where heroin and crack cocaine are sold openly on the streets of Newark and surrounding areas and illegal firearms and threats of violence are used to protect that trade,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “The wiretaps and surveillance provide a glimpse into the dangerous world these defendants have created in one neighborhood. Our office, working together with our federal and local law enforcement partners, is focusing on ridding neighborhoods of this type of activity, one gang at a time. Today’s arrests signal an important step in our continuing fight to retake our streets from violent gangs and drug dealers.”
“In conjunction with Attorney General Session’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative and ATF’s Violent Crime Reduction and Prevention strategy, today’s events mark the culmination of over a year of collaborative effort between ATF and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners,” ATF Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito, Newark Field Division, said. “Through the comprehensive use of Crime Gun Intelligence, law enforcement has removed a component of the criminal element that was driving violent crime in the community.”
“This joint investigation was vital in removing guns from the streets of Newark,” Valerie A. Nickerson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s New Jersey Division, said. “Every gun seized has the potential to save a life. The DEA will continue to work with our other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to have the biggest impact throughout the region.”
“A significant portion of the work of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is fueled by easy access to illegal guns,” Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II said. “Whether we are dealing with homicides or street level drug deals, the availability of guns often turn relatively minor disputes into deadly clashes. Anything that we can do to trace these weapons once they have been used in a crime or stem the flow of illicit guns into the hands of criminals makes our job easier and the streets safer.”
“I applaud the outstanding work of U.S. Attorney Carpenito, Special Agent in Charge Devito of ATF, Special Agent in Charge Nickerson of the DEA, Essex County Prosecutor Stephens, Essex County Sheriff Fontoura and N.J. State Police Superintendent Callahan and their invaluable partnership in bringing these suspects into custody,” Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said. “We are pleased that today’s advanced gun-tracing technology affords us the ability to link shootings occurring in the City of Newark back to those individuals suspected of using the weapons involved in committing crimes on our streets.”
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The defendants are members and associates of the Famous Boyz – a subset of the Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang – which dealt significant quantities of heroin and crack cocaine, primarily in and around the area of South 18th Street and 15th Avenue in Newark, which often was referred to by the gang as the “8 Block,” “18th,” or simply by reference to the number “8.”
John Mosley was a primary source of narcotics for the Famous Boyz and often directed the gang’s drug operations. Mosley and others shared narcotics, customers, and firearms with one another in furtherance of their narcotics trafficking activities, and used juveniles to distribute narcotics and stash firearms. Patricio Hernandez and Jonathan Hernandez were among the main suppliers of crack cocaine to Mosley. Jahid Vauters supplied Mosley with heroin. During the investigation, law enforcement recovered a Smith & Wesson 9mm and a Ruger .357 firearm from Vauters’ residence, along with bricks of heroin and more than 100 grams of crack cocaine. Law enforcement continues to investigate more than a dozen shootings that are linked to a rivalry between the Famous Boyz and another Newark gang.
Heroin sold by Famous Boyz members contained a fentanyl analogue, an extremely dangerous and highly addictive substance. One of Mosley’s heroin customers actually complained about the fentanyl, telling Mosley: “I’ll be honest – cause it’s fentanyl bro, I don’t want to kill myself, you know what I’m trying to say like ….” After Mosley acknowledged, the customer then added, “I’m just trying to fucking like have a good time not kill myself.”
Members of the Famous Boyz used social media to promote the gang’s criminal activities, advertising their narcotics trafficking activities and proceeds and threatening both rival gang members and any individuals who consider cooperating with law enforcement. For example, gang members have used the mantra, “No Face No Case,” and spread the word that if individuals are “ratting,” there’s “gone be a murder.”
Members of the Famous Boyz who sold narcotics also enriched themselves by committing other crimes, including robberies. Law enforcement officers, acting on information obtained from a wiretap, arrested Angelo West while he was attempting to commit a robbery. After they seized a .40 caliber firearm from the scene, Mosley was overheard complaining to Javon Holmes “so all the rachets gone” and “damn we just lost all the straps,” referring to the Famous Boyz losing their firearms.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of ATF, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Devito in Newark, and members of the Newark Department of Public Safety, under the direction of Director Ambrose, with the investigation leading to the charges.
He also thanked the DEA, under the direction of SAC Nickerson, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Stephens, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Armando B. Fontoura, the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan, the Belleville Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mark Minichini, and the Livingston Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gary Marshuetz.
This investigation is 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.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Graves of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.