FBI takes down 27 accused drug gangsters in Trenton
TRENTON — More than two dozen members of a violent drug trafficking gang in the state's capital are facing conspiracy charges following a major by sweep by the FBI.
On Thursday morning, cops arrested 13 accused gangsters, adding to the nine already in custody.
U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito said four individuals are still at large and all 26 of the defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute "massive amounts" of heroin and other drugs around the city. Five of the conspirators face firearms offenses.
Carpenito said members of the gang were involved in several recent shootouts, including a shooting at the Art All Night festival in Trenton this past July.
“The surge in gun violence in Trenton over the last several months is intolerable and it’s only underscored the need for a coordinated and sustained response by all of our law enforcement partners," Carpenito said Thrusday at a news conference.
He said two of the defendants, Jakir Taylor and Jerome Roberts, “regularly received supplies of hundreds of bricks of heroin from multiple suppliers, one of whom was referred to as Papi, a defendant named David Antonio.”
He noted these defendants have long criminal histories involving drug possession, and manslaughter.
“In addition to peddling that heroin, members of the conspiracy also illegally distributed other drugs, like cocaine, crack cocaine and prescription pills like Oxycodone, Hydrocodone," he said.
Prosecutors say the conspiracy was also a breeding ground for deadly gang violence. Over the last few months there have been multiple homicides and shootings in the streets of Trenton involving the conspirators and rival gang members.
He said crackdown on this violent gang sends a very clear message.
“We are here, we are watching, and we will not stand by idly while illegal drug distribution, firearms possession and violent crime terrorize this great city," Carpenito said.
He acknowledged this operation has taken a significant number of dangerous gangsters off the street, but nobody is relaxing.
“The second that we take down one group, another group is going to try to fill that void. It’s a profitable business. These folks are out there trying to gain territory on the street and the second there’s another takedown, we just go right back to work," he said.
He stressed authorities will continue to use a variety of techniques, including wiretaps, GPS and other technology, to combat the ongoing drug and violence epidemic in parts of New Jersey.
More arrests may be announced in the coming weeks.
Jakir Taylor, 28, of Trenton
Omar Council, 39, of Lawrence (still at large)
David Antonio, 30, of Trenton
Jerome Roberts, of Willingboro
Gary Ausmore, 28, of Ewing
Brian Phelps, 40 (already locked up)
Major Anderson, 42, of Trenton
Alonzo Leary, 37, of Trenton
Davias Taylor (already locked up)
Taques Hall, 26, of Trenton
Kahlil Hampton, of Lumberton
Donte Ellis, of Trenton
Dennis Cheston Jr., 37 (already locked up)
Timothy Wimbush, 28 (already locked up)
Taquan Williams, of Trenton
Jubri West, 19, of Trenton
Malik Bingham, 34, of Trenton
Deavon Warner, 27, of Trenton
Jaquan Wade, 28, of Trenton
Quiana Welch, of Trenton
Keyanda Phelps, 33 (already locked up)
Kaleib Cox (still at large)
Varlee Koon, 29 (still at large)
Brandon Council, 24, Trenton (still at large)
Wayne K. Bush, 40 (already locked up)
Shaquel Rock, 24, Trenton
Latrice Wharton, 30, of Trenton
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com