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Press Release

Essex County, New Jersey, Man Charged in Armed Carjacking

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

NEWARK, N.J. – An Irvington, New Jersey, man was charged today with brandishing a firearm while stealing a car in Newark, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Raheem Sylla, 23, of Irvington, is charged by complaint with one count of theft of a motor vehicle by force, violence, and intimidation, and one count of use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. The defendant is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer.

According to the criminal complaint:

During the early morning of Sept. 22, 2014, Sylla and a conspirator allegedly approached a 2000 Chevrolet Tahoe parked on a Newark street. Sylla went to the front driver’s window of the Tahoe, pointed a firearm at the driver’s chest and ordered the driver out of the car. The other conspirator approached the front passenger’s side window of the Tahoe and ordered the other passenger out of the car. Sylla and the other male then entered the car and fled.

A short time later, a Rutgers University police officer attempted to pull the Tahoe over for a traffic stop. Sylla tried to escape by driving away at a high rate of speed, but soon crashed and was subsequently apprehended by the Rutgers University police officer. A firearm was recovered from the Tahoe. Sylla has been in state custody since he was apprehended.

The carjacking count with which Brown is charged is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison. The charge of use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other prison term. Each of the two counts also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George P. Belsky; the Newark Police Department, under the direction of director Eugene Venable and Chief Anthony Campos; the Rutgers University Police Department, under the direction of Executive Director of Police Services Kenneth Cop; and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray; as well as criminal investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Tyler of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Sylla, Raheem Complaint

Updated August 18, 2015