FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2011
CAMDEN, N.J. – Three southern New Jersey men were charged today and remain in federal custody following their arrests last night in Maple Shade, N.J., as a result of a sting operation in which they believed they were on their way to rob a drug stash house, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Jerome Thomas, 36 of Lindenwold, Malcolm Lewis Brown, 30, of Lawnside, and Jaffar A. Muhammad, 20, of Camden, were arrested late yesterday in Maple Shade by special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and local law enforcement personnel. The arrests marked the culmination of a month-long investigation led by the ATF relating to a series of home invasion-type robberies in Camden and Burlington Counties.
All three defendants are charged by Complaint with cocaine distribution conspiracy. Brown is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. All three defendants appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen M. Williams, who ordered them held pending formal bail hearings, scheduled for May 31, 2011.
According to the criminal Complaints filed today:
Yesterday, May 25, 2011, Thomas, Brown, and Muhammad went to a pre-determined location in Maple Shade – where they met in order to travel to a drug stash house with the intention of robbing a major cocaine dealer at gunpoint of multiple kilograms of cocaine they expected to sell. An undercover ATF agent had previously met with the suspects to plan out the details of the robbery, and met with them again during the afternoon of May 25, 2011, in Maple Shade to put the criminal scheme into motion. After being signaled by the undercover, the agent’s backup team moved in to make the arrests. Law enforcement officers saw zip ties, commonly used to restrain robbery victims, and what appeared to be a black mask in plain view in the vehicle the defendants drove to the meeting site.
U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the ATF and commended the law enforcement partners which provided support and assistance during the course of the investigation: the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office; the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office; and the Cherry Hill, Maple Shade, Gloucester Township, Winslow Township, Clementon, and Pennsauken Police Departments. Fishman added that the investigation is ongoing.
The drug conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $10 million. The felon in possession charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew J. Skahill and Matthew T. Smith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Thomas: Michael Farrell Esq, Philadelphia
Brown: Lisa Evans Lewis Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Camden
Muhammad: Frederick Klepp Esq., Cherry Hill, N.J.
Muhammad, Jaffar A. Complaint
Brown, Malcolm Lewis Complaint