NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark man today admitted to narcotics distribution and firearm offenses in connection with a drug trafficking organization, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Ibraaheem Islam, a/k/a “Ish,” 33, of Newark, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court to a four-count information charging him with: possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Count One); possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Count Two); possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl (Count Three); and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count Four).
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In May 2020, as the result of an investigation into narcotics distribution activity occurring in the area of Chadwick Avenue in Newark, law enforcement obtained a warrant for Islam’s arrest, as well as warrants to search two vehicles and one residence associated with Islam. On May 30, 2020, law enforcement executed those warrants and recovered, among other things, a 5.7x28 millimeter FN Herstal model “FN Five-SeveN” pistol, loaded with 17 rounds of ammunition, 194 vials containing cocaine base, and 64 glassine envelopes containing heroin and fentanyl.
Islam admitted that on May 30, 2020, he illegally possessed the FN Herstal pistol, the cocaine base, and the heroin and fentanyl law enforcement seized during the execution of the search warrants. Islam further admitted that he possessed the firearm in furtherance of his distribution of the heroin and fentanyl.
Count One carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Counts Two and Three each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Count Four carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 28, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig B. Kailimai; the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Acting Director Brian O’Hara; and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
Islam was a target of the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI). The VCI was formed in August 2017 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the City of Newark’s Department of Public Safety for the purpose of combatting violent crime in and around Newark. As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate and pool resources to prosecute violent offenders who endanger the safety of the community. The VCI is composed of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the ATF, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals, the Newark Department of Public Safety, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, N.J. State Parole, Union County Jail, N.J. State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center, N.J. Department of Corrections, the East Orange Police Department, and the Irvington Police Department.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samantha C. Fasanello, Cassye Cole, and Desiree L. Grace of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.