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Press Release

Essex County Man Charged with Possessing Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking Crime

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

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was charged in connection with possessing a firearm, several rounds of ammunition, as well as controlled substances with the intent to distribute, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

John A. Fuller, 31, of Newark, is charged by complaint with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, one count of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He made his initial appearance today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III and was detained.

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

In August 2020, law officers observed Fuller conduct several narcotics transactions from his residence. On Oct. 3, 2020, law enforcement officers executed search warrants for Fuller’s residence and vehicle and recovered a handgun loaded with an extended magazine containing 31 rounds of ammunition, a box containing additional rounds of ammunition, heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, packaging material, and $405. 

The narcotics offense carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a fine of $1 million. The count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. The count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime carries a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison – which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed – and a maximum potential penalty of life in prison. Each firearm count carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig credited members of the Irvington Department of Public Safety, under the direction of Police Chief Francis Pignatelli; deputy marshals with the U.S. Marshals Service in the District of New Jersey, under the supervision of U.S. Marshal Juan Mattos Jr.; and special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig B. Kailimai, Newark Field Division, with the investigation leading to the charges and arrest.

This case is a 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:

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey E. Zyriek Enriquez 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 presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated May 24, 2021

Project Guardian
Press Release Number: 21-228