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Press Release

Government Intends to Seek Dealth Penalty for Leader of Violent Newark Street Gang

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

South Side Cartel Leader Charged with Six Murders in Racketeering Indictment

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has authorized and directed that the death penalty be sought against the leader of a violent Newark street gang charged with six murders, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today.

Formal notice of intent to seek the death penalty was presented in court today to Farad Roland, 30, leader of the South Side Cartel gang in Newark. Roland and two-codefendants were previously arraigned on a 24-count superseding indictment charging them with violations of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), murder, kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, drug conspiracy and other violent acts in aid of racketeering and related charges.

Five of the six murders charged in the superseding indictment are death-eligible offenses. Attorney General Holder authorized the U.S. Attorney to seek the death penalty on Jan.12, 2015. The criminal case against Roland and his codefendants is pending before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, who has scheduled the trial for Jan. 11, 2016. The formal notice was given to Roland today before Judge Salas in Newark federal court.

If convicted of any of the death penalty eligible murders, a separate penalty phase would follow. If the jury found that the death penalty should not be imposed, Farad Roland would be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The case would be the second capital case tried in the history of the District of New Jersey, and the first since 2007.

Attorney General Holder also authorized and directed the U.S. Attorney not to seek the death penalty against Roland’s codefendants, Mark Williams, 32, and Malik Lowery, 33, who are each charged with one death penalty eligible murder. The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury and arraigned on Dec. 20, 2012. They are detained without bail.

According to documents filed in this case:

The South Side Cartel, a sub-set of the Bloods street gang, operated primarily on Hawthorne Avenue in Newark since 2002. Originally a neighborhood-based gang whose main activities were selling drugs and committing violent acts to aid the drug trafficking business, many of the gang's members were officially brought into the Bloods gang in 2002 and 2003. As early as 2005, the gang was officially named “The South Side Cartel.” The gang’s center of activities were apartments located inside buildings dubbed “the Twin Towers,” located at 496-500 Hawthorne Avenue, the location of repeated narcotics and gun arrests by local law enforcement between 2002 and 2010. Many of the South Side Cartel members had tattoos showing these buildings and the logo of “SSC” representing the gang’s initials.

At its peak, the South Side Cartel had about 20 members or associates, many of whom have since been killed in gang-related murders or who are serving prison sentences in state and federal prisons for gang-related crimes. These defendants represent the last of the leadership of the gang. Co-founded by Amin and Farad Roland, between 2003 and 2010 the South Side Cartel was generally known among law enforcement and the FBI as the most violent street gang operating in Newark, committing numerous murders, shootings, robberies and other violent acts in furtherance of the enterprise.

The superseding indictment charges the defendants with their participation in a host of racketeering acts to further the South Side Cartel's goals, including: 1) the Dec. 4, 2003, murder of a rival gang member in a drive-by shooting; 2) the Feb. 23, 2005, murder of a fellow South Side Cartel member who was about to be arrested, in order to keep him from cooperating with law enforcement and implicating Farad Roland in a robbery/murder which took place a few days earlier; 3) the Oct. 20, 2007, murder of a fellow South Side Cartel member who had fallen into disfavor with the gang; and 4) the retaliation murders of two people on March 27, 2008, outside the Oasis Bar located on Lyons Avenue in Newark All the victims were shot to death.

The superseding indictment also charges the defendants with carjacking, assault with dangerous weapons in furtherance of racketeering for shootings of rival gang members and a conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine, among other charges.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Eric Welling; the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Eugene Venable and Police Chief Anthony Campos; and Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray, with the investigation leading to the charges in this case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Frazer and Andrew Bruck of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.

Defense counsel:
Farad Roland: Donna Newman, Esq. and Richard Jasper Esq.
Mark Williams: James Patton Esq., and Carl Herman Esq.
Malik Lowery: John Azzarello Esq. and Anthony Ricco, Esq.

Updated September 11, 2015