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Press Release

Essex County, N.J., Man Convicted Of Brandishing Weapon During Carjacking

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

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey man who previously admitted his role in an armed carjacking in Little Falls, New Jersey, was convicted today for brandishing a shotgun while committing that crime, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Ivan Lee, 26, of Newark, was found guilty of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court. The jury deliberated three hours before returning its verdict.

According to documents in this case and the evidence at trial:

Oct. 30, 2011, Lee and Hanza Darby, 25, of Newark, were in the Little Falls area when they spotted a parked 2008 BMW 335 with passengers inside. Darby and Lee  – who brandished a shotgun – approached the car and ordered the occupants out of the vehicle at gunpoint. Darby and Lee then took the car and fled the area. Law enforcement officers recovered the car in Newark on Nov. 7, 2011. Darby was standing next to it at the time. Lee previously pleaded guilty to the carjacking count and Darby has previously pleaded guilty carjacking and brandishing a weapon in furtherance of a crime of violence. Darby is awaiting sentencing.

The carjacking charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison. The firearm charge carries 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 $250,000 fine. Sentencing for Lee is scheduled for Oct. 21, 2014.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, officers of the Little Falls Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Dmuchowski; the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Rick Fuentes; and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes, with the investigation leading to today’s conviction.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cari Fais and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Kearney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Mark Berman Esq., of River Edge, New Jersey

Updated March 18, 2015