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Justice News

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

Friday, February 9, 2018

Two Newark Men Charged With Participating In Multiple Armed Carjackings

NEWARK, N.J. – Two Newark men have been arrested and charged for their respective roles in a string of armed carjackings in Jersey City, New Jersey, in June 2017, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Tarrance Atkins, 23, and Jarrett Nelson, 19, are each charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit carjacking, one count of conspiracy to use or possess a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, one count of theft of a motor vehicle by force, violence, and intimidation, and one count of using or possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence. Atkins made his initial court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court. Nelson made his initial appearance Feb. 8, 2018, before Judge Hammer.

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

From June 12, 2017, to June 18, 2017, Nelson, Atkins, and others committed six carjackings and attempted carjackings in Jersey City. For each carjacking or attempted carjacking, the victims were inside their vehicles, parked on residential streets. On each occurrence, two conspirators exited a getaway car and forced the passengers out of their vehicles at gunpoint. Over the course of three different evenings, Nelson, Atkins, and others carjacked four newer-model, high-end vehicles and attempted to carjack two others. After carjacking the vehicles in Jersey City, Nelson, Atkins, and others fled to Newark, where the cars were discovered shortly thereafter.

The conspiracy to commit carjacking count carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison, and the count of conspiracy to use a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The carjacking count with which Atkins and Nelson are charged is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison. The charge of use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other prison term. Each of the four counts also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, and the Jersey City Police Department for their contribution to the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Desiree Grace Latzer of the General Crimes Unit and Senior Litigation Counsel Robert Frazer of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit.

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

Defense counsel:
Nelson: John Yauch Esq., Federal Public Defenders Office, Newark
Atkins: David Schafer Esq., Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated February 9, 2018