DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Jersey

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Philip R. Sellinger
, United States Attorney

Three Men Charged with String of Violent Armed Robberies in Passaic County

NEWARK, N.J. — Three New Jersey men were charged in connection with their respective roles in a series of armed robberies in Passaic County, New Jersey, in August 2022, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Kareem Powell, 30, of Willingboro, is charged by superseding indictment with two counts of Hobbs Act robbery and two counts of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Following his arrest on Nov. 21, Powell made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court and was detained.

Powell’s co-defendants, Carlos Diaz, 30, and Edward Porter, 30, both of Paterson, previously were charged by indictment with three counts of Hobbs Act robbery and three counts of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. The superseding indictment charges Diaz and Porter with an additional count of Hobbs Act robbery as well as an additional count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. 

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

On the evening of Aug. 22, 2022, Powell, Diaz and Porter robbed a Passaic bodega of several thousand dollars while pointing their guns at a victim and threatening to kill him. Later that same evening, Powell, Diaz and Porter also robbed a Paterson business of several thousand dollars. During both robberies, Powell, Diaz and Porter menaced customers with handguns and ordered them to lie on the ground.

On the evening of Aug. 23, 2022, Diaz and Porter robbed a Passaic liquor store of several thousand dollars at gunpoint. While inside the store, Porter used his gun to pistol-whip a victim on the face. Later that evening, Diaz and Porter committed an additional gunpoint robbery of a business in Paterson. While inside the store, Porter pushed one victim and wrestled with a different victim, dragging the victim to the floor while attempting to take the victim’s handbag.

Each count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. Hobbs Act robbery carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller; the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Richard Berdnik; the Passaic Police Department, under the direction of Police Chief Luis A. Guzman; and the Paterson Police Department, under the direction of Officer in Charge Isa Abbassi, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Garrett Schuman of the Criminal Division in Newark.

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

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Newark Field Division