TRENTON, N.J. – A Trenton, New Jersey, man today admitted his role in a drug trafficking organization that allegedly distributed hundreds of grams of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding area, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced today.
Elijah Abdullah, a/k/a “Uncle E,” a/k/a “E,” 21, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. As part his guilty plea, Abdullah admitted to possessing one or more firearms during the conspiracy.
In December 2016, Abdullah and nine other members of a drug trafficking organization operating in Trenton were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin. The complaint referred to the drug trafficking organization as the “Abdullah DTO,” after its leader and Elijah Abdullah’s brother, Ishmael Abdullah. Elijah Abdullah is the third defendant to plead guilty.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From June 2015 through December 2016, Elijah Abdullah and others engaged in a drug trafficking organization that operated in the area of Spring and Passaic Streets in Trenton.
Through the authorized interception of telephone calls and text messages, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative means, law enforcement learned that Ishmael Abdullah was a leader of the Abdullah DTO, and was responsible for obtaining significant quantities of heroin from multiple suppliers, including Jose Joaquin Torres-Mezquita and Ileana Sanchez. Ishmael Abdullah and Keith Hunter coordinated the organization’s distribution of heroin through themselves and other conspirators, including Elijah Abdullah.
Members of the Abdullah DTO used temporary prepaid phones, stash houses and cars, and spoke in code to avoid detection by law enforcement. In connection with the narcotics conspiracy, Elijah Abdullah and other members of the Abdullah DTO maintained joint access to multiple firearms.
The conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine. Sentencing set for July 19, 2017.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited agents and officers with the Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, including special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Newark Division, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Scott C. Curley; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Director Ernest Parrey Jr.; 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; and detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri, with the investigation.
He also thanked special agents of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Harpster; special agents of Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Brian A. Michael; officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Joseph R. Fuentes; and officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler, for their assistance in the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Brendan Day of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
The charges and allegations against the remaining defendants are merely accusations, and those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Michael A. Armstrong, Willingboro, New Jersey