Two Convicted By New Jersey Federal Jury For Scheme To Rob Drug Dealers And Sell Their Cocaine
CAMDEN, N.J. – Two men who plotted to rob a drug stash house in order to sell the stolen cocaine were convicted today by a federal jury in New Jersey of crimes related to the scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Ralph Dennis, 35, and Terrance Hardee, a/k/a “Fat Cat,” 36, both of Philadelphia, were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and one count of conspiracy to possess more than 5 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute. Dennis was also found guilty of using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. The jury returned the verdict on the second day of deliberations following an approximately three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas in Camden federal court.
According to the evidence at trial:
In June and July of 2012, Dennis and Hardee engaged in the planning of a gunpoint drug stash house robbery. They prepared to steal multiple kilograms of cocaine from the drug dealers at the location, then sell it themselves to make a profit.
During the investigation, Dennis was recorded discussing his willingness to kill anyone they found inside the house as they were robbing it. Hardee was recorded talking about his role – tying the house’s occupants up with zip ties.
Special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrested the pair when they showed up in Maple Shade, N.J., on July 16, 2012, to head to the robbery location, Dennis carrying a gun. Dennis and Hardee also brought gloves, and zip ties were found in the car they drove to Maple Shade.
At sentencing, the defendants face a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison on the robbery conspiracy charge and a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison on the cocaine distribution charge. Additionally, Dennis faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison – consecutive to the sentence imposed for the robbery conspiracy – and a maximum of life in prison for the gun offense. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited ATF special agents in Cherry Hill, N.J., under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Cannon, with the investigation leading to today’s convictions.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacqueline M. Carle and Matthew T. Smith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Ralph Dennis: Assistant Federal Public Defenders Thomas Young & Christopher O’Malley Esqs., Camden
Terrance Hardee: David Rudenstein, Esq., Philadelphia