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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Middlesex County, New Jersey, Man Charged With Racketeering And Related Offenses

Charges include murders, assaults, illegal use of weapons

NEWARK, N.J. – A New Brunswick, New Jersey, man appeared in federal court today to face racketeering and other charges in connection with multiple brothels that employed illegal aliens throughout New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Wilmer Chavez Romero, a/k/a “Charmin,” 27, is charged by indictment with one count each of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and conspiracy to harbor aliens resulting in death; two counts of using a firearm for a violent crime; and two counts of murder in aid of racketeering. He was arraigned today before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court. Trial is scheduled for Jan. 3, 2017.

According to the indictment:

Chavez Romero allegedly served as an enforcer for an enterprise that provided prostitution services in Cumberland, Essex, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties. The purpose of the enterprise, which primarily employed illegal aliens in brothels throughout New Jersey, was to promote prostitution, assist illegal aliens to enter the United States, harbor illegal aliens, and to commit murder, assault, and robbery. The enterprise expanded its territory and reputation through the use of intimidation, violence, threats of violence, assaults, and murder. Chavez Romero acted at the direction of the leaders of the enterprise, identified in the indictment as “Individual 1” and “Individual 3.” 

The leaders oversaw brothels in New Brunswick, Trenton, Orange, Asbury Park, Lakewood, and Bridgeton. Individual 1, Chavez Romero and others allegedly threatened, committed, attempted to commit, and assisted in the commission of murder, assault, and robbery. The purpose of these alleged crimes was to thwart rival brothels, exact revenge, punish enterprise members and associates who had been disloyal, and silence people they believe were cooperating with law enforcement.

Chavez Romero allegedly committed robbery, burglary, assault, and murder in furtherance of the enterprise and conspired to conceal, harbor and shield from detection aliens for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain. In relation to this, two people were murdered.

The racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges are both punishable by life in prison. The assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The charges of murder in aid of racketeering, use of a firearm during a violent crime, and conspiracy to harbor aliens resulting in death are all punishable by a potential penalty of death or life imprisonment. All counts in the indictment are punishable by a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence S. Opiola in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.

 The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sharon Ashe and Meredith Williams of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Narcotics/OCDETF Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

Defense counsel: Kevin F. Carlucci Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
16-342
Updated December 6, 2016