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Press Release

Two Men Sentenced Today To Prison Terms For Their Roles In Trenton Drug Trafficking Operation

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

TRENTON, N.J. – Two Trenton men were sentenced today to prison terms for their respective roles in a drug trafficking organization that distributed hundreds of grams of heroin in the Trenton area, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Ishmael Abdullah, a/k/a “Ish,” a/k/a “Gangsta,” a/k/a “Papi,” 27, pleaded guilty on Aug. 16, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was sentenced to 176 months in prison.

Prince Sarnoe, 30, pleaded guilty on Sept. 8, 2017, before Judge Wolfson to an information charging him with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 120 months in prison.

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 the organization’s leader.

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

From May 2015 through December 2016, Abdullah and others participated in a drug trafficking organization that operated in the area of Spring and Passaic streets in the Trenton. Multiple members of the organization, including Sarnoe – a previously convicted felon – possessed and maintained access to firearms.

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 Abdullah was a leader of the organization and was responsible for obtaining significant quantities of heroin from multiple suppliers. Members of the Abdullah DTO used temporary prepaid phones, stash houses and cars, and spoke in code to avoid detection by law enforcement.
Abdullah admitted that he conspired with others to distribute at least 400 grams of heroin. Abdullah, who is a previously convicted felon, also admitted knowingly possessing a SCCY Industries CPX-2 firearm.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wolfson sentenced Abdullah to five years of supervised release and Sarnoe to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito 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 Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito; 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 Nicholas Sutter; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief John P. Stemler III; and detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencings.

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 Debra Parker; officers of the N.J. 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.

Defense counsel:
Abdullah: David E. Schafer Esq., Trenton
Sarnoe: John S. Furlong Esq., West Trenton, New Jersey

Updated January 10, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 18-011