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Justice News

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

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Six People Charged In Takedown Of Newark Drug Trafficking Organization

NEWARK, N.J. – Federal and local law enforcement authorities arrested six people today for their alleged roles in a drug trafficking organization that distributed heroin in Newark, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Tyrone Brown, 34, Lamarr Burwell, 22, and Miles McCloud, 37, all of Newark, and Martin Pettiford, 23, of Irvington, New Jersey, are each charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and one or more counts of possession with intent to distribute heroin. Tyrone Brown is also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute a fentanyl analogue. Omar Wyche, 29, of Newark, and Keyeen Scott, 37, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were each charged with one or more counts of possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Five of the defendants are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court today; Keyeen Scott is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kaymani D. West in Florence, South Carolina.

“The activities described in the criminal complaints unsealed today describe an active marketplace where heroin and crack cocaine are sold openly on the streets of Newark and surrounding areas,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “The wiretaps and surveillance provide a glimpse into the violent and dangerous world these defendants have created in one neighborhood. Our office, working together with our federal and local law enforcement partners, is focusing on ridding neighborhoods of just this type of activity, one gang at a time. Today’s arrests signal an important new beginning in our fight to retake our streets from dangerous gangs and drug dealers.”

“Gangs are the mechanism by which drugs are transmitted to the ‘bad seeds’ in our cities, and are at the root of the violent crime problem,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher said. “The FBI Newark Field Office is committed to making Newark, and its surrounding communities, a safe place to be. The most effective way to combat this epidemic of violence is through cooperation; the efforts of all law enforcement agencies with the support and understanding of the citizens whom we protect and serve.”

“We appreciate our partnership with U.S. Attorney Craig Carpentino and Special Agent in Charge, Timothy Gallagher of the F.B.I. in Newark for lending their invaluable law enforcement expertise and resources in the apprehension of these suspects,” Newark Department of Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said.  “These arrests represent our commitment to ensuring that the neighborhood in and around New Community Corporation complex is free from individuals who blatantly commit crimes and jeopardize the safety and quality of life of our residents. We will continue working tirelessly with our federal and local law enforcement partners to keep Newark safe.”

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

The defendants are allegedly members of a drug trafficking organization that dealt heroin in and around Newark, specifically the area of Hayes Street and 14th Avenue near the New Community Corp. community development (NCC). The organization also supplied drugs to customers and other distributors elsewhere.

The organization is composed of members of the Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang. The investigation revealed that in addition to selling narcotics in and around NCC – primarily in a courtyard area they refer to as “the desert” – the members of the drug trafficking organization alerted each other to the presence of police, rival gang members or drug dealers within NCC; pooled narcotics; shared narcotics proceeds and customers; and raised bail money for each other following an arrest. Members of the organization have also engaged in violence and been the subject of violence in connection with their narcotics trafficking activities.

An investigation led by the FBI used physical and video surveillance, confidential informants, cooperating witnesses, dozens of controlled narcotics purchases, record checks, narcotics seizures, including of heroin, and multiple telephone wiretaps to uncover the operations of the drug trafficking organization.

The count of drug trafficking conspiracy carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine. The drug possession counts carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge  Gallagher 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 Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, the New Jersey Department of Corrections, New Jersey State Parole, the East Orange Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Marshals for their assistance.

The drug trafficking organization operating out of the NCC was an original focus 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 sole purpose of combatting violent crime in and around the 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 includes the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the ATF, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New Jersey Division, the U.S. Marshals, the Newark Department of Public Safety, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey State Parole Board, Union County Jail, New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center, New Jersey Department of Corrections, the East Orange Police Department, and the Irvington Police Department.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine K. Lou of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated March 6, 2018