Nine people indicted for their roles in a massive drug trafficking operation based in New Jersey
There are nine people, eight from New Jersey, who have been arraigned and indicted for their roles in a massive drug and gun trafficking network that stretched down to South Carolina.
U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced Tuesday that 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, of Newark, as well as Mark Washington, 58, of Irvington, New Jersey, and Torell Brown, 46, of Orangeburg, South Carolina were indicted on various drug and weapons charges in February leading into the arraignments in March.
The nefarious activity of the nine began in October of 2020 within the Pennington Court housing complex in Newark.
From that time to the end of the illegal activity in July of 2021, Rogers, Bullock, Rivera, and , Richardson allegeldy conspired to deal 40-grams or more of fentanyl, 100-grams or more of heroin, and an undisclosed amount of cocaine base -- for which, they could now face up to 40-years in prison along with a maximum $5-million dollar fine.
Rogers and Bullock are in extra hot water for being convicted felons in possession of firearms.
All four though used two residences in the Pennington Court complex to manufacture, store, deal, and use CDS with the intent to distribute.
As for the others involved, Bermudez, Brian and Jaahan Mitchell were all involved in a shooting at the housing complex on May 14, 2021 and six days later, the gun used in that shooting was recovered from Bermudez' residence in Essex County and loaded with seven rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Between April and May of 2021, Brown, who is also a convicted felon, conspired to unlawfully sell firearms, and actually went a step further by trafficking six firearms and a large quantity of ammunition from South Carolina to New Jersey, all with the intent to sell these weapons to at least one New Jersey resident, Attorney Sellinger said.
During that time period plus the month of March, Brown also conspired with Brian Mitchell and Rogers to traffic firearms and ammunition into New Jersey from at least one other state, Attorney Sellinger said, use those firearms and ammunition in connection with at least one other felony offense.
Washington tried to prevent law enforcement from recovering the firearms on May 18, 2021.
Here are how all the charges break down:
"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."
Attorney Sellinger said that the investigation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation.
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.
Bermudez: William Strazza Esq., Chester, New Jersey.
B. Mitchell: Robert J. DeGroot Esq., Newark.
J. Mitchell: Elvis Alexander Jardines Esq., Union City, New Jersey.
Rogers: Edmund DeNoia Esq., Verona, New Jersey.
Brown: Carl Dominguez Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark.
Washington: Ruth Liebesman Esq., Paramus, New Jersey.
Bullock: Charles Alvarez Esq., Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Rivera: Laurie M. Fierro Esq., Kinnelon, New Jersey.
Richardson: Michael P. Koribanics Esq., Clifton, New Jersey.