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Press Release

Nine Essex County Individuals Charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics

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

NEWARK, N.J. – Nine Newark residents were charged for their roles in conspiracies to distribute and possess with intent to distribute narcotics, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

Robert Covington, aka “Nachie,” 55; Korey Smith, aka “Murda,” 36: Jeffrey Workman, aka “Rah,” 53; Yvonne Jackson, 49; Carlos Stokes, aka “Ab,” 54; Karen Gamble, 50; and Alaa Covington, 21, are charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 40 grams of fentanyl. Robert Covington, Workman, Williamson, Stokes, and Gamble are also charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine. Smith is additionally charged, along with Leroy Baxter III, 55, and William Lane, 57, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin. Eight of the defendants are expected to appear this afternoon by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor. Stokes remains at large.

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

From August 2020 through March 2021, multiple individuals were involved in selling fentanyl and cocaine in an open-air narcotics market in Bradley Court Housing Complex in Newark. These individuals comprise at least two separate drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs), which have overlapping membership.

DTO-1 involved individuals engaged in the distribution of fentanyl and included Robert Covington, Smith, Williamson, Gamble, Workman, Stokes, and Alla Covington. DTO-2 involved individuals engaged in the distribution of cocaine and included Robert Covington, Williamson, Gamble, Workman, and Stokes.  

The investigation revealed that Robert Covington was one of the leaders and organizers of DTO-1’s and DTO-2’s distribution of fentanyl and cocaine in or around Bradley Court.  Covington purchased powder cocaine and fentanyl from various sources, including Smith; “cooked” powder cocaine into crack cocaine or directed others to do so; used various “stash houses” to store and distribute fentanyl and cocaine and to store narcotics proceeds; and employed multiple drug dealers, including Workman, Williamson, Stokes, and Alaa Covington, among others, to distribute fentanyl and cocaine to the area surrounding Bradley Court. 

Smith – the fentanyl supplier for DTO-1 – was also engaged in distributing heroin in and around his residence on Fairmount Avenue in Newark from at least January 2021 to the present, along with Baxter, Lane, and others. 

The conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine. The heroin and cocaine conspiracy charges each have a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked the Newark Police Department, the Essex County Sheriff's Office and the Bloomfield Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.

This case is part of the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI), which 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 Emma Spiro of the United States Attorney’s Office, Opioid Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Unit in Newark.

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

Updated March 25, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 21-107