NEWARK, N.J. – A high-ranking member of a violent street gang operating in Jersey City, New Jersey, made his initial court appearance today on charges he possessed a weapon as a convicted felon, possessed Phencyclidine (more commonly known as PCP) with intent to distribute, and possessed a firearm in furtherance of his PCP distribution, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Jalil Burns, a/k/a “Big Ben,” 33, of Jersey City, was charged by complaint on Aug. 4, 2020, with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, one count of possession with intent to distribute PCP, and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Burns appeared today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward S. Kiel and was detained.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Aug. 3, 2020, Burns was found in possession of a .40 caliber handgun, which was loaded with six rounds of ammunition, and a jar of Phencyclidine. In 2009, Burns was convicted in federal court of unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
The charge of unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of possessing with intent to distribute Phencyclidine carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $1 million fine. The charge of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of life imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited the Jersey City Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director James Shea; the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Esther Suarez; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson, Newark Field Division; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Joe Denahan in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges and arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Desiree Grace Latzer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime and Gangs Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.