Ocean County Felon Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Drug Trafficking, Firearm Possession, and Possessing Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking
NEWARK, N.J. – A member of the Grape Street Crips gang was found guilty today by a federal jury of racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to distribute heroin, and other drug crimes, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
Khalil Stafford, a/k/a “Stod,” a/k/a “Homicide,” 34, of Newark, was convicted following a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court. The jury deliberated for four hours before returning the verdicts.
Stafford was charged – along with 13 other defendants –with RICO conspiracy, murder in aid racketeering, conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram of more of heroin. All 14 defendants have now been convicted.
Another 66 members and associates of the Grape Street Crips who were arrested in a coordinated takedown in May 2015 were separately charged with drug-trafficking, physical assaults, and witness intimidation, and all have been convicted.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
On June 19, 2010, during a family cookout on Garside Street in Newark, Stafford – a long-time member of the Grape Street Crips – confronted an individual about a drug debt. Stafford and several other gang-members left the cookout to retrieve firearms and later returned. They fired more than a dozen shots at the person whom Stafford originally confronted. A woman who was not part of the dispute was standing on a nearby porch, and was shot and killed. Two other people were wounded and survived.
Stafford was also involved in the distribution of heroin from 2003 through 2015. Stafford sold heroin and cocaine at the James Baxter Terrace housing complex from 2003 until it was demolished in 2009. After Baxter Terrace was torn down, Stafford continued to distribute heroin and cocaine at the Wynona Lipman public-housing complex. In 2014, Stafford and a conspirator sold to DEA confidential informants nearly $20,000 worth of heroin in separate transactions.
Stafford faces a mandatory life sentence in connection with the murder in aid of racketeering. For the conspiracy to distribute heroin, Stafford faces a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. For the RICO conspiracy, Stafford faces a maximum term of life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for June 12, 2019.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson, and special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the investigation leading to today’s conviction. 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 Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, for their assistance with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Osmar J. Benvenuto, Chief of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry A. Kamar of the Criminal Division in Newark, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard J. Ramsay of the Appeals 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.