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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 29, 2021

12 Members and Associates of ‘Harlem World/12th Avenue’ Street Gang Charged in Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

NEWARK, N.J. – Twelve people have been charged for their roles as members and associates of “Harlem World/12th Avenue,” a Paterson, New Jersey-based street gang involved in the distribution of drugs, including cocaine base, heroin, and fentanyl, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

Michael Booker, 38; Kenron Boyd, 28; Ronald Hammond, 53; Damir Horne-Casper, 28; Marcell Jackson, 26; Roger Jacobs, 25; Damond King, 31; Naquis Martin, 24; Korri Muckle, 40; Troy Taylor, 35; and Shamir Thompson, 26, all of Paterson, New Jersey; and Tahj Smith, 20, of Haledon, New Jersey, are each charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl and cocaine base.

King, who is already in custody on state charges, is additionally charged by complaint with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Booker, Jackson, and Taylor are at large. The remaining eight defendants who were arrested today will appear by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

The defendants are members and associates of the Harlem World/12th Avenue street gang, which operates primarily around 12th Avenue and East 23rd Street in Paterson. Through numerous controlled purchases of drugs, consensually recorded telephone calls and text messages, physical surveillance, and the analysis of telephone records, the investigation uncovered evidence that from February 2020 through April 26, 2021, the defendants conspired to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine base.

Harlem World/12th Ave derives its name from a reference to an area in Paterson on

and around 12th Avenue. An individual is eligible to join Harlem World/ 12th Avenue if he resides within the gang's turf and is willing to participate in street level narcotics sales. Members of the gang distribute decks of heroin that are almost always stamped or labeled with various “brand names” in colored ink to allow dealers and purchasers alike to differentiate and market batches of heroin. For example, on various occasions, glassine envelopes were stamped “Coca Cola,” “Larry Bird,” “Kobe Bryant,” “Paid in Full,” “Best Buy,” and “K.O.,” and have since October 2020 been linked to over 10 fatal overdoses.

The count of conspiracy to distribute at least 28 grams of cocaine base and a quantity of heroin and fentanyl carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a fine of at least $5 million. The count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents and task force officers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig B. Kailimai; special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson; officers of the Paterson Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Jerry Speziale and Police Chief Ibrahim M. Baycora; detectives of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Camelia Valdes; and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance with the case.

This case is being conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). 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.

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kendall Randolph of the 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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
21-171
Updated April 29, 2021