NEWARK, N.J. – A Passaic County, New Jersey, man today admitted conspiring to distribute heroin and to distributing a quantity of fentanyl, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Cequan Wharton, 26, of Paterson, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to an information charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin and knowingly and intentionally distributing fentanyl.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Wharton and his conspirators are members and associates of the 230 Boys street gang, which operates primarily around Rosa Parks Boulevard and Godwin Avenue in Paterson. Through numerous controlled purchases of narcotics, consensually recorded telephone calls and text messages, physical surveillance, and the analysis of telephone call detail records, law enforcement determined that from at least September 2018 through Oct. 1, 2019, Wharton and his conspirators conspired to distribute narcotics, including heroin and fentanyl.
Each count of the information carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 4, 2021.
This case is being conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents and task force officers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson; special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; officers of the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan; officers of the Paterson Police Department, under the direction of Director Jerry Speziale and Police Chief Ibrahim Baycora; detectives of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Camelia Valdes; and the Passaic County Sheriff's Office, under the direction of Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bergen County Sheriff's Office and the Belleville and Livingston police departments for their assistance with the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francesca Liquori, of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit.