Fourteen leaders, members and associates of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips, a violent street gang operating in and around Newark, were charged Wednesday with racketeering, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, drug trafficking, firearms offenses and related crimes.
This indictment follows the coordinated takedown in May 2015 of 50 alleged members and associates of the Grape Street Crips who were charged by criminal complaints with drug-trafficking, physical assaults and witness intimidation. The charges are the result of a long-running DEA and FBI investigation, in conjunction with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Newark Police Department and Essex County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Narcotics. Overall, 71 defendants have been charged with federal and state charges.
The New Jersey Grape Street Crips controlled drug trafficking and other criminal activities in various areas of Newark, including the area of 6th Avenue and North 5th Street and public-housing complexes at Pennington Court, Oscar Miles, the Millard Terrell Homes, the John W. Hyatt homes and the former James Baxter Terrace complex.
Gang leaders, members and associates routinely engaged in acts of intimidation and violence to avenge attacks or perceived slights against the gang, silence individuals who were perceived to be cooperating with law enforcement and protect their drug trafficking activities. Members frequently used social media, including Instagram and YouTube, to disseminate the rules of the gang, intimidate witnesses and other members of the community, and promote the gang’s reputation for violence and drug-trafficking.
In October 2013, Kwasi Mack, a/k/a “Welchs,” 26, of Belleville, New Jersey, and Corey Batts, a/k/a “C-Murder,” a/k/a “Cee,” 30, of Newark, two Grape Street Crips leaders, plotted to kill a gang rival (Victim 3). After Batts missed an opportunity to shoot and kill Victim 3, Mack ordered Batts to have junior gang members patrol the Oscar Miles housing complex in case the gang rival returned to the area. Several weeks later, Batts and other gang members allegedly shot and nearly killed the gang rival and an innocent woman in broad daylight in Newark.
Also in October 2013, Mack and other Grape Street Crips members, including Justin Carnegie, a/k/a “Dew Hi,” a/k/a “Dew,” a/k/a “D,” 28, Rashan Washington, a/k/a “Shoota,” 25, and Aaron Terrell, a/k/a “Push,” 24, all of Newark, allegedly committed a shooting in retaliation for the murder of a fellow gang member.
Carnegie and Ahmed Singleton, a/k/a “Gangsta-Moo,” a/k/a “Gangsta,” a/k/a “Mooshie,” 26, of Newark, frequently carried and stock-piled firearms in furtherance of the gang’s activities and talked about harming individuals who were perceived to be cooperating with law enforcement. In May 2010, Carnegie stored a loaded Romarm SA Cugir 7.62x39 assault rifle, an American Industries Calico M100 .22LR carbine, 7.62x39 caliber ammunition, .22 caliber ammunition and $2,952 in Orange, New Jersey.
In March 2015, during the lawful wiretap of a cell phone used by Singleton, law enforcement agents intercepted Singleton detailing his efforts to intimidate a witness who took the witness stand to testify against him. Singleton was facing trial for aggravated assault in connection with a shooting. He bragged about how he had “beat trial” by intimidating the main witness and getting the state charges against him dismissed.
Numerous gang members—including Washington, Eric Concepcion, a/k/a “Eddie Arroyo,” a/k/a “E-Wax” a/k/a “Wax,” 28, Hakeem Vanderhall, a/k/a “Keem,” a/k/a “Sugar Bear,” 31, Jamar Hamilton, a/k/a “Gunner,” 27, Tyquan Clark, a/k/a “Tah,” 28, and James Gutierrez, a/k/a “Bad News,” 24,—sold thousands of “clips” of crack-cocaine in the area of 6th Avenue and North 5th Street (a clip is slang for a package containing 10 doses). To protect their territory, the Grape Street Crips used “community guns” that were easily accessible to gang members. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement agents seized numerous firearms, including a .410 caliber assault rifle, a .45 caliber Thompson semi-automatic carbine, a 7.62 caliber assault rifle and numerous semi-automatic handguns.
Also, Hanee Cureton, a/k/a “City,” 30, Khalil Stafford, a/k/a “Stod,” a/k/a “Homicide,” 31, and Lateef Grimsley, a/k/a “Bird,” 26, distributed kilogram quantities of heroin in and around Newark. Cureton controlled a heroin mill located inside a Newark apartment that was used exclusively to package heroin for street-level distribution. Law enforcement agents later recovered several kilograms of heroin, glassine envelopes, cutting agents and blenders from the apartment.
This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
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