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Press Release

Grape Street Crips Member Admits Conspiring To Sell Heroin

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A member of the Grape Street Crips street gang today admitted conspiring to distribute heroin in and around Newark, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Sharod Brown, 30, of Newark, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court an information charging him with one count of conspiring to distribute heroin.

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

In May 2015, 50 alleged members and associates of the Grape Street Crips were charged over a three-week period in criminal complaints that alleged drug-trafficking, physical assaults, and witness intimidation. In addition to controlling drug-trafficking across large swaths of Newark, the Grape Street Crips allegedly engaged in acts of violence — including murder, shootings, aggravated assaults, and witness intimidation. Over the course of the entire investigation, 71 defendants have been charged with federal and state charges.

Brown admitted that, between November 2014 and May 2015, he conspired with others to distribute 10 bricks of heroin in and around the Pennington Court public-housing complex, located on Pennington Street in Newark, New Jersey.

The count of conspiring to distribute heroin to which Brown pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 21, 2015.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked prosecutors and detectives of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray; police officers and detectives of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Director Eugene Venable and Chief Anthony Campos; and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office under the direction of Armando B. Fontoura, for their work on the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Osmar J. Benvenuto, Elizabeth M. Harris, and Barry Kamar 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 contained in the federal criminal complaints and indictment against the remaining defendants are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defense counsel: Jason F. Orlando Esq., Jersey City, New Jersey

Updated September 14, 2015

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 15-334