Couple Charged with Firearms Offenses after Standoff in Hotel Reveals Cache of Firearms and Ammunition
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey
NEWARK, N.J. – A husband and wife were arrested on weapons charges after a standoff at a Hudson County hotel, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Rahim Harris, 42, of Maplewood, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon. His wife, Haneefha White, 39, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, is charged by complaint with aiding and abetting the possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon. They will have their initial appearances by videoconference at a date to be determined.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Dec. 21, 2019, Harris was charged by complaint with weapons and aggravated assault offenses allegedly committed on that date. On March 14, 2021, law enforcement received information indicating that Harris was in a specific room at a hotel in Secaucus, New Jersey. Law enforcement officers responded to the hotel a few hours later to attempt to locate and arrest Harris, who was identified from a photograph as the person staying in the specific hotel room.
Officers observed Harris’ wife entering the room. They attempted to summon White while she was in the hallway, but she entered the room and closed the door. White then called the front desk and asked why police were in the hallway. Law enforcement officers spoke with White on the telephone to persuade her to come out. She indicated there were other individuals in the room and that they were “on edge” and had firearms and hand grenades.
After several hours of unsuccessful negotiations with White, law enforcement called the room and Harris picked up the phone. Harris stated that he did not want to come out because of the arrest warrant and that he was “prepared for war” and “ready to die.”
In the early hours of March 15, 2021, Harris and White (who were the only occupants of the room) surrendered. A lawful search of the room yielded numerous weapons, fraudulent identification papers, bank cards, $36,910 in cash and a vehicle registration.
Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office; the Secaucus Police Department; the Hudson County Regional SWAT Team; the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office; the Jersey City Police Department Bomb Squad; and the New Jersey Transit Police Department for their roles in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Violent Crimes 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.
Updated March 22, 2021
Press Release Number: 21-104