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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Grape Street Crips Member Charged With Double Murder, Two Attempted Murders In Connection With Racketeering Conspiracy

Related Indictment Adds Additional Murder Counts Against Leaders and Members of Violent New Jersey Gang

NEWARK, N.J. – A federal grand jury today returned an indictment charging a Summit, New Jersey, man with racketeering-related murder and attempted murder charges – including a double homicide during the evening rush-hour in March 2014 – and added additional murder charges against several other members and leaders of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Ahmad Manley, a/k/a “Fresh,” a/k/a “Moddi G,” 30, was arrested today and charged in a fifth superseding indictment with RICO conspiracy and drug trafficking. Manley was previously charged by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office with the March 2014 double murder and had been out on bail. He is scheduled to have an initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III in Newark federal court.

The indictment also charges, for the first time, second-in-command Kwasi Mack, a/k/a “Welchs,” a/k/a “The Prince,” a/k/a “Mini Me,” 27, of Belleville, and Corey Batts, a/k/a “C-Murder,” a/k/a “Cee,” 31, of Newark, with a 2006 shooting that left one rival gang member dead and another wounded. In addition, Tony Phillips, a/k/a “Blue,” 25, also of Newark, was added to counts charging two attempted murders that took place in October 2013. Finally, the indictment added a murder in aid of racketeering count against the leader of the enterprise, Corey Hamlet, a/k/a “C-Blaze,” a/k/a “Blaze,” a/k/a “Blizzie,” a/k/a “Castor Troy,” 39, of Belleville, New Jersey, as well as Batts and Phillips for a May 2013 murder.

According to the indictment returned today:

On March 3, 2014, Manley and Hamlet, the long-time leader of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips, were riding in Manley’s Jeep Cherokee when they pulled alongside a car being driven by an individual referred to in the indictment as “Victim 6.” Although Hamlet aimed a firearm at Victim 6 and the car’s other occupants, Victim 6 pulled off before any shots were fired. A short time later, Manley found Victim 6, and a car chase ensued. The chase concluded when Victim 6’s car crashed into other civilian vehicles at the intersection of Irvine Turner Boulevard and Spruce Street in Newark. Numerous shots fired from Manley’s Jeep Cherokee at Victim 6’s vehicle struck Victim 6 and killed “Victim 7,” a passenger in Victim 6’s car. In addition, “Victim 8” – an innocent bystander who was a passenger in one of the civilian vehicles that had crashed at the intersection – was shot through the head and killed.

The double murder was part of an on-going feud between the Grape Street Crips and a rival (referred to in the indictment as “Victim One”) that resulted in numerous other murders and attempted murders, several of which are charged in today’s indictment.

In August 2013, Hamlet authorized Batts and others to murder Victim One. In October 2013, Hamlet met with Victim One at the Mall at Short Hills in Millburn, New Jersey, in a meeting that had been set-up by “Victim Five,” a member of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips who was a close associate of Victim One and who attempted to broker a truce between Hamlet and Victim One.

After the Short Hills meeting, Hamlet used a social media account to post a report from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office purportedly indicating that Victim One had provided a statement to law enforcement. Just three days after Hamlet’s social media post, Batts, Manley, Phillips, and another gang member – acting on Hamlet’s orders – repeatedly shot and nearly killed Victim One and “Victim Four,” a bystander who was inside Victim One’s car.

Following the attempted murder of Victim One, Hamlet and other gang members perceived that Victim Five had been disloyal by attempting to put an end to the feud between Hamlet and Victim One. In November 2013, Aaron Terrell, 25, and Rashan Washington, 26, both of Newark, murdered Victim Five. Acting on Hamlet’s orders, Washington lured Victim Five into a Jeep Cherokee and then purposely left Victim Five alone, while Terrell shot Victim Five once in the head.

On the racketeering conspiracy charge, Hamlet, Mack, Manley, Batts, and Phillips face a potential maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison. Manley also faces a potential life sentence for the drug trafficking charges. On the murder in aid of racketeering charges, Hamlet, Batts, and Phillips face a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

In total, the fifth superseding indictment charges 15 alleged members and associates of the gang with five murders, three attempted murders, and numerous other crimes committed as part of the racketeering conspiracy. Today’s indictment follows the coordinated takedown in May 2015 of 50 alleged members and associates of the Grape Street Crips who were charged by criminal complaints with drug-trafficking, physical assaults and witness intimidation.                                       

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, and special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, for the investigation leading to the charges. 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 Department of Public Safety, under the direction of Director Anthony A. Ambrose; 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 and Barry A. Kamar of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit 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, 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 indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defense counsel: TBD

16-244
Topic: 
Violent Crimes
Updated August 31, 2016