For Immediate Release
Ten People Charged for Their Roles in Violent Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy Operating in Trenton, New Jersey
TRENTON, N.J. – Federal and local law enforcement authorities today arrested multiple members and suppliers of a drug trafficking organization that allegedly distributed hundreds of grams of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding areas, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
The alleged leader of the conspiracy, Ishmael Abdullah, a/k/a “Ish,” a/k/a “Gangsta,” a/k/a “Papi,” 26, of Trenton, was among 10 defendants charged in a complaint unsealed today, six of whom were arrested this morning as part of a coordinated takedown by federal and local law enforcement authorities. Of the remaining four defendants, two are currently incarcerated on pending state charges and parole violations and two remain at large.
Each defendant (see attached chart) is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Ishmael Abdullah and Christopher Proctor, a/k/a “Bris,” a/k/a “Bris Broctor,” 22, of Trenton, are also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Those arrested today are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert in Trenton federal court.
“According to the charges, the defendants sold large quantities of heroin out of a residential neighborhood in Trenton, all while keeping firearms on hand to further their drug-trafficking activities,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “Today’s arrests, which include the group’s alleged leader, are part of a coordinated effort by federal and local law enforcement to curb the proliferation of heroin in our communities and the senseless violence that it brings.”
“Today, FBI Newark and our law enforcement partners executed ten federal arrest warrants and conducted several searches in the greater Trenton area. These arrests highlight our commitment to combating the opiate and heroin epidemic that affects each and every one of our communities,” stated Timothy Gallagher, Special Agent in Charge of the Newark FBI Field Office.
According to the complaint:
From June 2015 through December 2016, Ishmael Abdullah, Hunter, and other members of their drug trafficking organization (the “Abdullah DTO”) engaged in a heroin distribution conspiracy that operated in the area of Spring and Passaic Streets in Trenton.
Through the authorized interception of telephone calls and text messages, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative means, law enforcement learned that Ishmael Abdullah was a leader of the conspiracy and was responsible for obtaining significant quantities of heroin from multiple suppliers, including Torres-Mezquita and Sanchez. Ishmael Abdullah and Hunter coordinated the organization’s distribution of heroin to the other conspirators, who sold and stored the drugs.
Members of the Abdullah DTO spoke in code and used stash houses, cars, and temporary prepaid phones to avoid detection by law enforcement. In connection with their narcotics distribution, members of the Abdullah DTO also maintained joint access to firearms.
Members of the Abdullah DTO sold prepackaged “bricks” of heroin, which contained approximately one gram, and “bundles” of heroin, which contained approximately one-fifth of a gram, to various other distributors, sub-dealers, and end users in Trenton and surrounding areas. Discussions about drug quality, consumer satisfaction, pricing, quantity, and the nature of the organization’s drug distribution business, including the storage and accessibility of firearms, were captured on calls and text messages intercepted during the investigation.
“Today's arrests affirm ATF's commitment to protect the public by reducing violent crime in our neighborhoods,” said Special Agent in Charge George P. Belsky, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Newark Field Division. “Investigating, arresting, and prosecuting armed narcotics traffickers remains a top priority for ATF. We will continue to work diligently with our local, state and federal partners to focus our efforts on targeting violent offenders wreaking havoc in our streets.”
Trenton Police Director Ernest Parrey, Jr. stated, “On behalf of the City of Trenton and the Trenton Police Department, I would like to thank all of our law enforcement partners who dedicated their resources in an effort to improve the quality of life for the citizens of our city. This joint investigation and the arrests of these individuals, who plagued city neighborhoods to further their drug trafficking network, is not only a win for law enforcement but a victory for the citizens of this city who have had to live under those brutal conditions.”
The conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine. The firearms charges with which Ishmael Abdullah and Christopher Proctor are charged carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited agents and officers with the Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, including special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gallagher; special agents of the ATF, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Belsky; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Director Ernest Parrey, Jr.; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Todd Frederick; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police John P. Stemler III; and detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri, with the investigation.
He also thanked special agents of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Harpster; special agents of Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence S. Opiola; officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Joseph R. Fuentes; and officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler, for their assistance in the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Brendan Day of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defendant, Age, Residence
- Ishmael Abdullah, a/k/a “Ish,” a/k/a “Gangsta,” a/k/a “Papi”, 26, Trenton
- **Keith Hunter, a/k/a “Meech”, 24, Trenton
- Jose Joaquin Torres-Mezquita, a/k/a “Alex Torres,” a/k/a “Papi,” a/k/a “Pa,” a/k/a “Pop”, 30, Philadelphia
- Bernadino Guervil, a/k/a “BG”, 28, Trenton
- **Elijah Abdullah, a/k/a “Uncle E,” a/k/a “E”, 21, Trenton
- Prince Sarnoe, 29, Trenton
- *Thomas Rogers, a/k/a “Herb,” a/k/a “T-Rod’, 22, Trenton
- *Christopher Proctor, a/k/a “Bris,” a/k/a “Bris Broctor”, 22, Trenton
- Ileana Sanchez, a/k/a “Lilly”, 32, Trenton
- India Daniels, 23, Morrisville, Pennsylvania
* currently incarcerated, ** still at large