NEWARK, N.J. – A member of a Newark street gang made his initial court appearance today on firearms charges related to the shooting of multiple victims, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced.
Munir Muhammad, aka “Mu,” 18, of Newark, is charged by complaint with one count of possession of a machinegun and possession of an unregistered firearm. He appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge José R. Almonte and was detained.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Since 2021, law enforcement officers have been investigating a series of retaliatory shootings between rival neighborhoods in Newark involving individuals in the area of Clinton Place and Weequahic Avenue, which is known on the street as “Cake Block.” These individuals are aligned with others who operate in the area of Vorhees Street and individuals who operate around the Bradley Court Housing Complex. Muhammad is a member and associate of this neighborhood street gang. He and his fellow gang members have committed numerous shootings that targeted individuals who operate in the area of the Oscar Miles Housing Complex and Goodwin Avenue.
On April 8, 2023, law enforcement officers responded to a shooting in the area of the Oscar Miles Housing Complex and discovered three shooting victims, one of whom remains in critical condition.
On April 12, 2023, after the investigation identified Muhammad as a primary suspect in the shooting, law enforcement arrested Muhammad while he was in possession of a 9mm handgun equipped with a machinegun conversion device and loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition in an extended magazine. A subsequent ballistics analysis of the machinegun confirmed that the machinegun fired 28 rounds during the April 8, 2023, shooting at the Oscar Miles Housing Complex.
The charge of possession of a machinegun carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of possession of an unregistered firearm carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited the Newark Department of Public Safety, under the direction of Fritz Fragé; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller; and special agents of the Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick Freaney, New York Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Jose Riera, Newark Field Office, with the investigations leading to the charges.
This case is part of the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) in Newark. 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 to combat 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 New Jersey Division, 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 Board of 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.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Desiree Grace, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, in Newark.
The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.