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Press Release

Essex County Felon Sentenced Three Years in Prison for Firearm Possession

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

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man previously convicted of multiple felonies was sentenced today to 36 months in prison for possessing a firearm and ammunition, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Sharif Clarke, 39, of Irvington, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to count one of an indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a weapon. Judge Martinotti imposed the sentence today by videoconference.

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

On Dec. 3, 2018, Clarke possessed a Glock .40-caliber handgun loaded with nine rounds of Remington ammunition. At that time, Clarke had previously been convicted in Essex County Superior Court of resisting and eluding arrest and of possession of a controlled substance on school property, both of which are felonies.

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 ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see

In addition to the prison term, Judge Martinotti also sentenced Clarke to three years of supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson, and the Newark Department of Public Safety, under the leadership of Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah A. Sulkowski of the U.S. Attorney’s Cybercrime Division in Newark.

Updated March 26, 2021

Project Guardian
Press Release Number: 21-110