Newark Man Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for Possessing Five Firearms in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking and Conspiring to Distribute Fentanyl and Cocaine
NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, New Jersey, man was charged following his attempt to bring firearms, ammunition, a bulletproof vest, fraudulent law enforcement credentials, and other items on a domestic flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced today.
Seretse Clouden, 42, of Wallington, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon and fraudulent possession of an identification document and authentication feature of the United States. He made his initial court appearance today before the U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clarke III in Newark federal court and was detained.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Dec. 30, 2022, Clouden entered Newark Liberty International Airport for a scheduled flight to Fort Lauderdale. During routine screening of checked luggage that was destined for Fort Lauderdale, Transportation Security Administration agents discovered two .40 caliber Glock magazines, each containing 15 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition and a ballistic vest carrier that displayed the words “Deputy Marshal.”
Further investigation revealed that the checked luggage belonged to Clouden, which resulted in additional screening of Clouden’s other luggage, which contained an ASP expandable baton, a spring loaded knife, a taser, a .40 caliber Glock 22 handgun, a .308 caliber DPMS Panther Arms rifle, and one 5.56 caliber AR-15 rifle, which meets the definition of a machine gun.
That luggage also contained “United States Marshal” credentials, bearing Clouden’s name and photograph, and a “United States Marshal” badge. An inquiry with the United States Marshals Service confirmed that Clouden is not, and was not, employed with the United States Marshal Service.
The count of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison. The count of fraudulent possession of an identification document and authentication feature of the United States carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; special deputies of the U.S. Marshals Service, under the direction of Marshal Juan Mattos; officers of the Port Authority Police Department, under the direction of Superintendent Edward Cetnar; and officers of the Transportation Security Administration.
The government is represented by U.S. Attorney Desiree Grace, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, and Jenny Chung, Assistant U.S. Attorney of the Office’s OCDETF/Narcotics Unit, in Newark.