Essex County drug trafficker gets 5 years in prison

Handcuffed hands of a prisoner in prison, Male prisoners were severely strained in the dark prison, violence, human trafficking, prison and prisoner concept.

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for possessing a handgun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

Ricky Terrell, 24, of Newark, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge John Michael Vazquez via videoconference to a one-count Information charging him with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, specifically the possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine. Judge Vazquez imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

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

Stephen Crane Village is a public housing complex in Newark, on the border with Belleville. From February 2019 through February 2020, law enforcement officers investigated individuals that controlled an open-air drug market that operated within Stephen Crane Village.

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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 numerous individuals conspired to distribute and did actually distribute narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and cocaine base, in and around Stephen Crane Village.

On Feb. 25, 2020, law enforcement lawfully searched Terrell’s residence and found heroin and cocaine, a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun, and numerous rounds of ammunition.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Vazquez sentenced Terrell to three years of supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents and task force officers with the ATF, Newark Division, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Craig B. Kailimai; the Belleville Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mark Minichini; special agents and task force officers of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara; the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II; and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. She also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service, the Nutley Police Department, the Bloomfield Police Department, the West Orange Police Department, the Verona Police Department, the Orange Police Department, and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance with this case.

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This investigation was part of the Newark Violent Crime Initiative (VCI), where the U.S. Attorney’s Office has partnered with state, federal, county, and local law enforcement to investigate crime in Newark and the surrounding cities. This case is also 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.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey Agnew of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.

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