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Press Release

Crack-Cocaine Distributor for Grape Street Crips Gang Sentenced to 176 Months in Prison

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A drug supplier for the Grape Street Crips street gang was sentenced today to 176 months in prison for his role in distributing large quantities of crack-cocaine in and around Newark, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Jihad Coles, a/k/a “Half Dead,” 31, of Newark, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack-cocaine. Judge Salas imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

In May 2015, over the course of three weeks, 50 alleged members and associates of the Grape Street Crips were charged in criminal complaints that alleged drug-trafficking, physical assaults, and witness intimidation. The charges were the result of a long-running investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the FBI, in conjunction with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Newark Police Department and Essex County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Narcotics. Over the course of the entire investigation, 71 defendants have been charged with federal and state charges.

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

Coles admitted that between March 2012 and August 2012 he conspired with others to distribute hundreds of grams of crack-cocaine at the Mildred Terrell Homes public-housing complex located on Riverview Terrace in Newark, New Jersey. As a long-time member of the Grape Street Crips, Coles admitted that he served as an organizer and leader of the crack-cocaine distribution conspiracy.

In addition to the prison term, which will be served consecutively to a state prison term that he is currently serving, Coles was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl Kotowski, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher, for the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked prosecutors and detectives of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray; police officers and detectives of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Director Anthony Ambrose; and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, for their work on the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Osmar J. Benvenuto and Barry A. Kamar of the Criminal Division in Newark.

This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. 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 March 21, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 16-083