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Press Release

Member Of Newark’s ‘South Side Cartel’ Gang Pleads Guilty To Racketeering, Carjacking, Robbery And Drug Charges

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark man today admitted his role in a violent and long-running racketeering conspiracy perpetuated by the “South Side Cartel,” a set of the Bloods Street gang based in Newark, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced.

Malik Lowery, a/k/a “Leek,” 35, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to multiple counts of a second superseding indictment charging him with racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, carjacking, Hobbs Act Robbery and conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, one kilogram or more of heroin and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine.

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

As part of the racketeering charges, Lowery admitted his role in the Oct. 20, 2007, murder of a member of the South Side Cartel that took place on Bragaw Avenue in Newark. Lowery also admitted to committing an armed carjacking with fellow South Side Cartel members on January 3, 2008, and to the robbery of a drug dealer on Feb. 3, 2008, among other acts.

Originally a neighborhood-based gang whose main activities were selling drugs and committing violent acts to aid the drug trafficking business, many of the gang's members were officially brought into the Bloods gang in 2002 and 2003. The gang’s center of activities were apartments located inside buildings dubbed “the Twin Towers,” located at 496-500 Hawthorne Avenue, the location of repeated narcotics and gun arrests by local law enforcement between 2002 and 2010. Many of the South Side Cartel members had tattoos showing these buildings and the logo of “SSC” representing the gang’s initials.

At its peak, the South Side Cartel had about 20 members or associates, many of whom have since been killed in gang-related murders or who are serving prison sentences in state and federal prisons for gang-related crimes. Lowery and his co-defendants, Mark Williams, a/k/a “B.G.” and Farad Roland, a/k/a “B.U.” represent the last of the gang’s active members. Co-founded by Amin Roland and Farad Roland between 2003 and 2010, the South Side Cartel was generally known among law enforcement and the FBI as the most violent street gang operating in Newark, committing numerous murders, shootings, robberies and other violent acts in furtherance of the enterprise.

Lowery faces a sentence of 25 to 30 years in federal prison, according to the terms of the plea agreement. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6, 2016.

On Aug. 10, 2016, Williams pleaded guilty to racketeering and related charges. The criminal case against Roland is pending before Judge Salas, who has scheduled the trial for September 2017. Roland is charged with five death-penalty eligible murders. On Feb. 9, 2015, the Government announced in court that then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had authorized and directed that the death penalty be sought against Roland.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; police officers and detectives of the Newark Department of Public Safety, under the direction of Director Anthony A. Ambrose; and prosecutors and detectives of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Frazer and Courtney Howard of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark, and Trial Attorney Robert Feitel of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section.

Defense counsel:  John Azzarello Esq., Morristown, New Jersey, Anthony Ricco, New York, New York

Updated September 1, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 16-243