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Press Release

Newark Man Charged with Drug Trafficking in Newark’s Pilgrim Baptist Village Housing Complex

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark man who was indicted in connection with his role in the distribution of heroin – some of which contained fentanyl – and cocaine base (crack) in an affordable housing complex and a nearby senior living community in Newark will make his initial court appearance today, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Elijah Kane, a/k/a “Bang,” a/k/a “G5,” 28, and his brother Joshua Kane, a/k/a “WildOut,” 24, were indicted by a federal grand jury on May 29, 2020, on charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine base, possession of heroin and cocaine base with intent to distribute, and maintaining a drug-involved premises. Elijah Kane is scheduled to appear by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward S. Kiel. Joshua Kane was arraigned on the indictment before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton on June 10, 2020. Elijah and Joshua Kane were both charged previously by criminal complaint.

Four other members and conspirators have been charged by complaint with one count each of conspiring to distribute cocaine base: Ahmad Beyah, a/k/a “Goon,” 18, Sherrod Richardson, a/k/a “Drama,” 19; Yusef Ellis, a/k/a “Tweeze,” 39; and Reuben Howard, a/k/a “Ahmeer,” 38, all of Newark. Richardson is also charged with possession of heroin and cocaine base on Dec. 5, 2019, with intent to distribute. Beyah is also charged with possession of heroin and cocaine base on Mar. 4, 2020, with intent to distribute. Richardson, Ellis, and Howard appeared on April 9, 2020, by telephone conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III. Beyah appeared on April 16, 2020, by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre.

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

The charges and arrests resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement partners. Pilgrim Baptist Village Housing Complex, Site II (Pilgrim Village), is a privately owned, affordable housing complex in the vicinity of Avon and Jelliff avenues in Newark. It consists of 46 buildings, each with four units, which are accessible via exterior entrances as well as an interior stairwell leading from each apartment to a common hallway that connects multiple buildings and semi-subterranean garages for those buildings. The buildings are clustered around internal courtyards and pedestrian walkways, and the complex is accessible on foot from Avon Avenue or Jelliff Avenue and by car from one of four driveways leading to the semi-subterranean garages. Because its location and layout make it difficult for law enforcement to surveil, Pilgrim Village is the site of an open-air illegal drug market. Since at least November 2018, law enforcement has been investigating the organization that controls this market.

Through numerous controlled purchases of narcotics, consensually recorded telephone calls and text messages, physical and electronic surveillance, and analysis of telephone call detail records, law enforcement officials determined that the defendants distributed and conspired to distribute heroin and cocaine base in and around Pilgrim Village from at least June 2019 through April 2020.

The counts of conspiracy to distribute at least 28 grams of cocaine base each carry a minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, and a fine of at least $5 million. The counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine base each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. The counts of maintaining a drug-involved premises each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents and task force officers of ATF, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson in Newark; and members of the Newark Department of Public Safety, under the direction of Director Anthony F. Ambrose, with the investigation leading to the charges.

He also thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson; the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski; the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II; the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura; and the U.S. Marshals Service, under the direction of Marshal Juan Mattos Jr. He also thanked the Belleville Police Department; the Nutley Police Department; the Bloomfield Police Department; the Verona Police Department; and the Orange Police Department for their assistance with this case.

The case was investigated as part of the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI). 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 for the purpose of combatting 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, 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 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 Angelica M. Sinopole of the Organized Crime & Gangs Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

The charges and allegations against the defendants are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated June 15, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Release Number: 20-179