News and Press Releases

Grape street crips street gang associate sentenced to 10 years in prison for crack cocaine conspiracy

September 20, 2011


NEWARK, N.J. – A known associate of the Grape Street Crips criminal street gang involved in a 2009 crack cocaine conspiracy was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy to sell the drug, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

A jury returned a guilty verdict against Stevie Buckuse, 35, of Newark, following a two-day trial in June 2010 before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark federal court. Buckuse was convicted of all three counts charged against him in the second superseding Indictment on which he was tried: one count of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine and two counts of distribution of crack cocaine. Judge Chesler also imposed the sentence today.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

Buckuse conspired with members of the Grape Street Crips, including Marquis Works, a/k/a “Freak,” 26, and Rasheed Smith, a/k/a “Weed,” 20, both also of Newark, to sell crack cocaine in the Hyatt Court housing community in Newark between June and August 2009. In total, Buckuse and his co-conspirators distributed approximately 120 grams of crack cocaine during the course of the conspiracy, investigated through the use of an FBI confidential informant.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Chesler sentenced Buckuse to eight years of supervised release.

The length of the sentence imposed on Buckuse was affected by the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which was signed into law on August 3, 2010. Among other things, the FSA reduced the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses and eliminated the five year mandatory minimum penalty for crack possession. The U.S. Department of Justice believes that the FSA should apply to all defendants who are sentenced on or after August 3, 2010.

Both Works and Smith have pleaded guilty to crack cocaine charges. Smith was sentenced earlier this month to 60 months in prison; Works awaits sentencing before Judge Chesler.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent In Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, for the investigation leading to the sentence.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rodney Villazor and David Foster of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Narcotics/Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit in Newark.


Defense counsel: Michael Pedicini Esq., Morristown, N.J.

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