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Press Release

Leader And Supplier For Atlantic City ‘Dirty Block’ Gang Admits Role In Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy And Being

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

TRENTON, N.J. - An Atlantic City, New Jersey, man today admitted engaging in a conspiracy to distribute heroin with members of the “Dirty Block” criminal street gang that allegedly used threats, intimidation and violence to maintain control of the illegal drug trade in Atlantic City.

Tyrone Ellis, a/k/a “Rome,” 33, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson in Trenton federal court to a superseding information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, and one count of possessing a firearm and ammunition while being a previously convicted felon.

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

Ellis acted as a supplier of pre-packaged heroin to Mykal Derry, the leader of the Dirty Block criminal street gang. Ellis also distributed heroin to a smaller group of mid-level heroin distributors who sold the heroin to customers all over the Atlantic City area and in surrounding towns.

Ellis was arrested on March 26, 2013, in Vineland, New Jersey. At the time of his arrest, a loaded Glock .40 caliber handgun belonging to Ellis was recovered from a bedroom in the residence and more than $37,000 in cash was seized from various locations inside the residence and in an attached garage.

Tyrone Ellis’ guilty plea marks the 34th felony conviction of the 34 defendants arrested by the FBI and state and local law enforcement officers working with the FBI in March 2013. Ellis and approximately 15 other defendants are awaiting sentencing; the remaining defendants have all been sentenced to prison terms.

The drug conspiracy carries a minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, and a maximum potential fine of $5 million.  Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 2, 2016.

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 guilty plea.

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 C. Askin and Justin C. Danilewitz and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmond Mallqui-Burgos.

Defense counsel:  Rocco Cipparone Esq., Haddon Heights, New Jersey

Updated November 10, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-409