Saturday, June 30, 2018

Leader Of Notorious Newark Heroin Distribution Ring Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison On Drug Conspiracy Charges

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 168 months in prison for his leadership role in a massive drug distribution ring responsible for selling millions of dollars’ worth of heroin out of a residential building near a high school in Newark, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Quawee Jones, a/k/a “Hatman,” 34, of Newark, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to a superseding information charging him with conspiracy to distribute heroin. Judge Linares imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court

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

Jones and his co-defendants operated a heroin distribution marketplace out of the first floor hallway of a residential building at 25 Johnson Avenue in Newark. The building is just a few doors away from the Malcolm X. Shabazz High School and the Terrell James Park playground. The conspiracy was led by Quawee Jones and Almalik Anderson, who, along with other heroin dealers that worked with them, took advantage of the building’s location on a dead-end street, making it difficult for law enforcement to infiltrate the distribution network despite a constant stream of buyers entering the building at all hours of the day.

“Lookouts” were paid by the defendants to alert them to any police activity coming onto the block from the only access point on Clinton Avenue. Police could not infiltrate the building without lookouts detecting their presence and signaling the sellers. Members of the drug trafficking organization also set up an escape route whereby residents were paid to keep their doors unlocked. The dealers in the hallways would run through the building and exit via fire escapes at the rear of the building or simply hide within the apartments before police could apprehend them.

The drug conspiracy operated nearly 24 hours a day and was well-known among heroin users, who came from several different counties across New Jersey. The defendants allegedly worked in carefully planned “shifts” in order to handle the constant flow of heroin buyers. The heroin was sold in various “brands,” which were stamped onto the glassine envelopes that contained the heroin, allowing buyers to identify and purchase the brands that they preferred.
The defendants sold on average one to two kilograms of heroin per week between January 2013 and November 2015. Based upon the quantities sold, information from court-authorized wiretaps, and other evidence, the profit from the heroin distribution was estimated to be between $4 million and $7 million a year.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Linares sentenced Jones to five years of supervised release.

All 16 defendants indicted for their roles in the heroin distribution conspiracy, including Anderson, have been convicted.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI and task force officers assigned to the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation. He also thanked officers of the Newark Department of Public Safety, under the direction of Director Anthony F. Ambrose, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office under the direction of Armando B. Fontoura; the N.J. State Parole Board, under the direction of Chairman Samuel J. Plumeri Jr.; and the Orange Police Department, under Director Todd Warren, for their work on the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan M. Peck and David E. Malagold, and Senior Litigation Counsel Robert Frazer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Stacy Ann Biancamano Esq. and Dan Holzapfel Esq., Cranford, New Jersey

New York Man Charged With Illegal Possession of a Firearm

Portland, Maine:  United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Timothy Ortiz, a/k/a “Tyson,” 25, of New York, was charged by criminal complaint in U.S. District Court with possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to court documents, on September 26, 2016, Ortiz was involved in an argument which led to his fatal shooting of Jonathan Methot using a silver Ruger, new model Blackhawk, .357 revolver at a duplex apartment building in Biddeford.  Ortiz was prohibited from possessing the firearm as the result of 2016 Maine felony convictions for aggravated sex trafficking and heroin distribution.

Ortiz faces up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the charge.  His initial appearance is scheduled for 2:30 today in U.S. District Court.

This case was investigated by the Biddeford Police Department; the Maine State Police; the Maine Attorney General’s Office; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the FBI; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Three Individuals Charged in Florida-Based Investment Fraud Scheme

On June 21, 2018, a grand jury in Miami indicted three individuals for their alleged participation in an investment fraud scheme that targeted investors throughout the Nation, defrauding them out of approximately $2 million.  The main office operated out of Broward County, Florida.

Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR), West Palm Division, made the announcement.

Thomas Michael White, 59, of Parkland, Florida, John Kevin Reech, 56, of Delray Beach, Florida, and Joseph Mario Genzone, 53, of Boca Raton, Florida, were all charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, as well as substantive mail fraud charges.  In addition to those charges, White was also charged with wire fraud.  The defendants had their initial appearances in U.S. Magistrate Court today. 

The indictment charges the defendants with participating in an alleged conspiracy involving the sale of stock and debt equity in First Call Ventures, LLC and its subsidiaries, all of which were owned and operated by Thomas Michael White.  According to the Indictment, from January 2012 to November 2014, the defendants solicited investors located throughout the United States to buy shares or ownership units in First Call Ventures, LLC and its subsidiaries, which included, First Call Auto Transport, Frist Call Freight and First Call List.

The indictment alleges that the defendants made materially false statements which included, but were not limited to, that First Call Ventures would provide a “safe and profitable investment” where “you won’t lose your money,” that investors would receive a guaranteed return on investments, that no fees would be charged to investors unless First Call Ventures turned a profit, that the value of the investment would increase significantly, that First Call Ventures was successful and profitable, and that investor funds would be used for sales and marketing, working capital and general corporate purposes.

In fact, over 80% of all First Call Ventures’ investor funds went to White for salaries, fees and other monetary distributions to himself, Reech, Genzone, and others.

Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, West Palm Division.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Cruz.

Individuals who believe that they may be a victim in this case should contact the FBI at for more information.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.