NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was arrested and had his initial appearance in federal court on charges stemming from his arrest for narcotics trafficking and illegally possessing a firearm, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.
Raheem Johnson, aka “Smoke,” 37, of Newark, is charged by complaint with two counts of possession with intent to distribute heroin (Counts One and Three), one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Count Two), one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Count Four), and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count Five). Johnson appeared by videoconference on May 27, 2021, before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III and was detained without bail
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The investigation revealed that in April 2021 and May 2021, Johnson distributed controlled substances, including cocaine base and heroin, around Hayes Street in Newark. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Johnson’s residence and recovered a WASR‑10 7.62x39 millimeter semi-automatic rifle, 20 rounds of 7.62x39-mm ammunition, and more than two dozen bricks, or 1,200 doses, of suspected heroin.
Counts One, Two, and Three each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Count Four carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Count Five carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, to be served consecutively to any other sentence of imprisonment, a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.
Johnson was a target of the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI). The VCI was formed in August 2017 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the City of Newark’s Department of Public Safety for the purpose of combatting violent crime in and around Newark. As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate and pool resources to prosecute violent offenders who endanger the safety of the community. The VCI is composed of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the ATF, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals, the Newark Department of Public Safety, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, N.J. State Parole, Union County Jail, N.J. State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center, N.J. Department of Corrections, the East Orange Police Department, and the Irvington Police Department.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Samantha C. Fasanello 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 defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.