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Press Release

Heroin Supplier For Atlantic City ‘Dirty Block’ Gang Sentenced To 13 Years In Prison

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

TRENTON, N.J. - A Paterson, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 156 months in prison for his role as a primary heroin supplier for a criminal street gang that used threats, intimidation and violence to maintain control of the illegal heroin trade in Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Mark Frye, 35, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to a superseding information charging him with conspiracy to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin. Judge Thompson imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

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

Frye and Maurice Thomas, 34, of Patterson, worked together in a sophisticated drug distribution scheme which was based in the Presidential Towers apartment complex in Paterson.  

Law enforcement agents obtained several wiretaps over a period of six months and recorded thousands of phone calls and text messages, including calls between Frye and “Dirty Block” leader Mykal Derry, 35, of Atlantic City, and Tyrone Ellis, 33, of Galloway, New Jersey, two Atlantic City heroin dealers. In addition, FBI agents conducted surveillance of drug meetings at the apartment complex in Paterson and observed and photographed Frye meeting with both Derry and Ellis on numerous occasions.

Frye, along with Thomas, obtained large quantities of pre-packaged heroin from major drug suppliers in the Paterson area and then supplied the drugs to numerous customers, routinely selling thousands of dollars’ worth of pre-packaged heroin to Derry and Ellis.  

On Feb. 17, 2013, Frye was arrested by troopers from the New Jersey State Police after they seized an Audi Sedan he was driving and found a bag containing 200 “bricks” of heroin (each brick contained 50 individual packets of heroin, for a total of approximately 10,000 packets of heroin). Frye was able to make bail within 24 hours, but was ultimately arrested in March 2013 by FBI agents on the federal drug conspiracy charge. Sentencing in the state case in Passaic County Superior Court is still pending.

At his plea hearing, Frye admitted that he supplied at least 1, 200 bricks of heroin as part of the conspiracy. The wire recordings of Frye’s numerous calls and text messages with Derry and Ellis, as well as the trial testimony of a cooperating witness with firsthand knowledge of Frye’s drug trafficking activities, establish that Frye supplied heroin on a daily basis for at least six months between October 2012 and March 2013.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Thompson sentenced Frye to serve eight years of supervised release.

Thomas pleaded guilty on Sept. 18, 2014 to conspiracy to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin and awaits sentencing. Ellis pleaded guilty on Nov. 10, 2015 to conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin and awaits sentencing. Derry, who was convicted at trial for drug conspiracy and weapons charges, was sentenced Jan. 7, 2015 to a lifetime in prison.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Newark Division, Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel; the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor James P. McClain; the Atlantic City Police Department, under the direction of Chief Henry White; and the South Jersey Safe Streets Violent Incident and Gang (Safe Streets) Task Force, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

He also thanked the N.J. State Police, the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, the Northfield Police Department, the Vineland Police Department, the Brigantine Police Department, and the Millville Police Department for their contributions.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Askin and Justin Danilewitz of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmund Mallqui-Burgos of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.

Defense counsel:  Michael Engle Esq., Philadelphia 

Updated September 16, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 16-029