FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – Federal charges were unsealed this morning against 14 alleged members of a criminal street gang operating a crack distribution network in Irvington, N.J. Ten of the defendants were arrested this morning in a coordinated law enforcement effort, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
The Complaint charges Mark Manasse, a/k/a “M-Easy,” 26, of West Orange, N.J.; his brother Bradney Manasse, a/k/a “Ice,” 28, Akmad Anderson, a/k/a “POP,” 25, Ligunes Bonnet, a/k/a “LB,” 23, Anquan Clark, a/k/a “GS,” 19, Jovany Clermont, a/k/a “Rims,” 24, Donald Duterval, 22, David Glass, a/k/a “Grim,” 21, and Israel Petiote, a/k/a “Little Easy,” 22, of Irvington; Tafary Clervil, a/k/a “Birdie,” 25, and Timothy Piercin, 32, of East Orange, N.J.; Levelston Georges, 21, and Philemon Pierre-Saint, a/k/a “Butter,” 26, of Newark; and Chenete Philemon, a/k/a “Jumanji,” 21, of Orange, N.J., with one count each of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.
Special agents and officers of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); New Jersey State Police; and Irvington Police Department arrested the defendants this morning at their residences as part of an organized takedown. All of the charged defendants were arrested this morning except for Chenete Philemon – who was arrested on April 9, 2011, and remains in state custody pending his transfer to face the federal charge – and Bradney Manasse, Piercin, and Clark, who remain at large.
The defendants who were arrested this morning are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Dickson in Newark federal court.
According to the Complaint unsealed today:
From February 2010 through April 2011, the defendants sold crack cocaine for distribution in the Irvington area. Numerous transactions involved a confidential law enforcement source or were witnessed by law enforcement. Law enforcement also was able to intercept a number of telephone conversations Mark Manasse had with other defendants on his cell phones, during which the defendants discussed the details of their drug deals.
Calls intercepted by law enforcement demonstrate the drug organization’s efforts to prepare, package, and distribute crack cocaine and include conversations about drug quality, consumer satisfaction, pricing, and the pace of business. The speakers use code words for crack, such as the street word, “buzz,” and the term “white candy.”
Mark Manasse is also suspected of attempting to commit acts of violence, including ordering two murders in order to maintain control of this drug trafficking organization. His attempts to orchestrate the two murders were overheard by law enforcement in intercepted phone calls in January and April 2011. After hearing this information, law enforcement was able to identify the intended victim of the first murder and prevent the shooting. Law enforcement also located the intended shooter in the second murder before he was able to carry out the crime.
U.S. Attorney Fishman stated: “New Jersey residents should not have to live in fear of gangs dealing drugs in their neighborhoods. Today’s arrests are part of our commitment to attack drug trafficking, and the violence that goes with it, in the streets of New Jersey.”
“Today’s arrests of criminal street gang members who strike fear in the citizens of New Jersey’s communities demonstrate law enforcement’s collective resolve to rid our streets of the senseless violence associated with those who possess and sell illicit drugs,” said Peter T. Edge, Special Agent in Charge of ICE HSI in New Jersey. “By combining our resources, intelligence and investigative expertise, we have taken yet another proactive step towards shutting down the destructive drug pipeline in New Jersey.”
The count with which each of the defendants are charged carries a statutory minimum prison term of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, as well as a maximum $10 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of HSI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Peter Edge in Newark; the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Colonel Joseph R. Fuentes, Superintendent; and the Irvington Police Department for the ongoing investigation leading to today’s charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Robertson and Shana Chen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.