Essex County Member of Newark Drug Trafficking Organization Responsible for Distribution of Over 1 Kilogram of Heroin Sentenced to 210 Months in Prison
Second Defendant also Pleads Guilty to Distributing Multiple Controlled Substances as Part of Conspiracy
TRENTON, N.J. – A Trenton man today admitted his leadership role in a significant drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed more than one kilogram of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding area, and also admitted possessing firearms in furtherance of the drug conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
Jakir Taylor, a/k/a “Jak,” 28, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to two counts of a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin (Count One), and possessing and conspiring to possess one or more firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count Seven).
Another member of the conspiracy, Alonzo Leary, a/k/a “J-Buck,” a/k/a “Buck,” 37, of Trenton, pleaded guilty May 30, 2019, before Judge Wolfson to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute multiple controlled substances, including heroin, oxycodone, and alprazolam.
In October 2018, Taylor, Leary, and 24 other members of a drug trafficking conspiracy operating in Trenton were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin. Taylor and others also were charged with additional firearms offenses. On April 11, 2019, a grand jury returned a nine-count superseding indictment charging Taylor and eight other defendants with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and various other drug and firearm offenses. Of the 26 defendants charged in the criminal complaint, Taylor is the eighth defendant to plead guilty, and Leary is the ninth. The charges in the superseding indictment and the criminal complaint are currently pending against the 17 remaining defendants.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From as early as October 2017 to October 2018, the defendants and others engaged in a large narcotics conspiracy that operated in the areas of Martin Luther King Boulevard, Sanford Street, Middle Rose Street, Southard Street, Hoffman Avenue, and Coolidge Avenue in Trenton, and which sought to profit from the distribution of heroin and numerous other controlled substances. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that Taylor and Jerome Roberts obtained regular supplies of hundreds of “bricks” of heroin from defendant David Antonio, whom they referred to as “Papi.” Intercepted communications between and among Taylor, Roberts, Antonio, and other conspirators revealed that Taylor and Roberts agreed to obtain from Antonio a “motherlode” supply of as many as 1,500 bricks – approximately 1.5 kilograms of heroin – in a single delivery. Taylor said that he intended to “flood the streets” of Trenton with this large supply. Taylor also admitted that he and his conspirators possessed at least one firearm to assist his drug trafficking operations, and on multiple occasions during the conspiracy Taylor actively sought to obtain additional firearms from other sources.
Intercepted telephone communications revealed that Leary participated in the drug trafficking as a close associate of Omar Council, Brian Phelps, Gary Ausmore, and other members of the conspiracy. These communications revealed that Leary participated in the conspiracy by distributing quantities of heroin, oxycodone, and alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax) to other narcotics dealers and end users.
The drug conspiracy count to which Taylor pleaded guilty carries a statutory mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $10 million. The firearms count to which Taylor pleaded guilty carries a statutory mandatory minimum term of five years in prison and a maximum potential penalty of life years in prison, and must be served consecutive to the sentence imposed on the drug conspiracy count. The drug conspiracy count to which Leary pleaded guilty carries a statutory maximum term of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. Taylor’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2019, and Leary’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 4, 2019.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Satellite Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Sheilah Coley; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Nicholas Sutter; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police John P. Stemler III; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Bruce Painter; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas.
He also thanked officers of the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the N.J. State Board of Parole for their assistance in the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Brendan Day and Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to enhance the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of individuals involved in gang-related activities, violent crime, and drug distribution in and around the greater Trenton area. 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 against the remaining defendants are merely accusations and those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Taylor: Jerome A. Ballarotto Esq., Trenton
Leary: Robert B. Haney Esq., West Windsor, New Jersey