Gang Member Charged In Connection With Two Attempted Murders As Part Of RICO Conspiracy
NEWARK, N.J. – A member of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips appeared in court today on charges that include two attempted murders charged as part of a RICO conspiracy, as well as narcotics trafficking, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Sean Hills, a/k/a “Half A Brain,” a/k/a “Half,” a/k/a “Rydaman,” 28, of Newark, was charged in a two-count indictment with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy and distribution of cocaine. Hills made his initial court appearance and was arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court.
Since 2015, more than 80 members of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips have been convicted federally in connection with multiple murders, attempted murders, shootings, drug trafficking, firearms charges, and witness intimidation as part of a coordinated investigation by the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and local law enforcement partners.
According documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Hills is allegedly a long-time member of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips who has the gang’s senior hierarchy tattooed on his face. On Dec. 15, 2012, Hills repeatedly shot Victim-1 near the area of South 14th Street and 14th Avenue, an area that Hills and other gang-members were trying to take over as part of their drug-trafficking territory. On Feb. 1, 2013, Hills shot Victim-2 numerous times. Both victims survived the attacks. Hills is additionally charged with separate instances of possession with intent to distribute of cocaine.
Hills faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years on each count for the RICO conspiracy and the narcotics charges, and a fine of $250,000 on the RICO conspiracy charge and $1 million on the drug charge.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark. He also thanked the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II, police officers and detectives of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose, and the Essex County Sherriff’s Office, under the direction of Armando B. Fontoura, for their long and close collaboration on the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Osmar J. Benvenuto, Chief of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamel Semper of the Criminal Division in Newark.
This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense Counsel: Olubukola Adetula Esq., East Orange, New Jersey