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Press Release

Burlington County Man Sentenced to 245 Months in Prison for Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. – A Burlington County, New Jersey man was sentenced to 245 months in prison for his role in a drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed more than one kilogram of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding area, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Jerome Roberts, aka “Righteous,” 53, was convicted in October 2021 of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and distribution of 100 grams or more of heroin. Roberts was convicted following a three-week trial before former then-Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson. U.S. District Judge Georgette Castner imposed the sentence on June 13, 2024, in Trenton federal court.

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

From October 2017 to October 2018, Roberts and others engaged in a large narcotics conspiracy that operated in the areas of Martin Luther King Boulevard, Sanford Street, Middle Rose Street, Southard Street, Hoffman Avenue, and Coolidge Avenue in Trenton, and which sought to profit from the distribution of heroin and numerous other controlled substances. Roberts and his conspirator Jakir Taylor obtained regular supplies of hundreds of “bricks” of heroin from conspirator David Antonio, whom they referred to as “Papi.” Communications intercepted over court-authorized wiretaps showed that Taylor and Roberts agreed to obtain from Antonio what Roberts referred to as the “motherlode,” a supply of as many as 1,500 bricks – approximately 1.5 kilograms of heroin – in a single delivery. Taylor said that he intended to “flood the streets” of Trenton with this large supply. And Antonio said that “as long . . . as I keep it flowing, we never gonna stop.” Evidence in the case also showed that Roberts personally distributed large quantities of heroin to others during the conspiracy. For example, law enforcement surveillance, intercepted communications, and other physical evidence showed that on or about August 10, 2018, Roberts obtained a supply of 200 bricks of heroin from Antonio, which he redistributed to Taylor and others. During coordinated arrests on Oct. 25, 2018, law enforcement arrested Roberts, Taylor, Antonio, and other defendants, and recovered more than 1.4 kilograms of heroin from Antonio’s residence.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ross A. Marchetti; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Acting Police Director Steve Wilson; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Nicholas Sutter; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police John P. Stemler III; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Bruce Painter; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the  direction of Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.

He also thanked officers of the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the N.J. State Board of Parole for their assistance in the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

Antonio pleaded guilty to his role was sentenced in March 2020 to 204 months in prison. Taylor pleaded guilty to his role and was sentenced in January 2023 to 228 months in prison.

This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to enhance the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of individuals involved in gang-related activities, violent crime, and drug distribution in and around the greater Trenton area. 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.

Updated June 14, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 24-232