TRENTON, N.J. – A federal jury today found three men guilty of various narcotics and firearms offenses for their roles in a Trenton-based drug trafficking conspiracy, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Jerome Roberts, 51, of Delran, New Jersey, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin
Timothy Wimbush, 31, of Trenton, was convicted of one count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin; possession with intent to distribute heroin; possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime; and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.
Taquan Williams, 24, of Trenton, was convicted of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. The jury found Williams not guilty of possession with intent to distribute heroin and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
The jury deliberated for approximately 2½ days before returning the verdicts following a three-week trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court.
In October 2018, Roberts, Wimbush, Williams, and 23 other individuals were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin; Wimbush, Williams, and others also were charged with firearms offenses. On Feb. 27, 2020, a grand jury returned a 10-count third superseding indictment charging Roberts, Wimbush, Williams, and four other defendants with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and various other drug and firearms offenses. Roberts, Wimbush, and Williams are the last of the 26 defendants charged in the original criminal complaint to be convicted of one or more federal criminal offenses. The other 23 defendants have pleaded guilty.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
In 2018, Roberts, Wimbush, and others participated in a large drug trafficking conspiracy that operated in various areas of Trenton, and which sought to profit from the distribution of heroin. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that defendant Jerome Roberts and conspirator Jakir Taylor obtained regular supplies of hundreds of “bricks” of heroin from conspirator David Antonio, whom they referred to as “Pop” and “Papi,” and that they distributed those supplies of heroin to other dealers and end users in and around Trenton. In August and September 2018, Roberts and Taylor agreed to obtain a massive supply of heroin of more than 1,400 “bricks,” which Roberts referred to as “the motherload.” On Oct. 25, 2018, law enforcement executed a search of supplier Antonio’s residence in Trenton and recovered nearly 1½ kilograms of heroin and a substantial amount of packaging paraphernalia.
On Sept. 6, 2018, law enforcement officers stopped a green 2002 Volkswagen Passat after observing Williams, a previously convicted felon, enter the vehicle carrying a yellow plastic bag believed to contain contraband. The Passat was driven by, and registered to, Wimbush, who also was a previously convicted felon. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, law enforcement officers recovered from a secret trap compartment installed under the rear passenger’s seat approximately 57 bricks of heroin, four semiautomatic firearms – including a .223 caliber assault rifle linked with a shooting in Trenton four days earlier – hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and the yellow plastic bag that defendant Williams had carried into the vehicle moments earlier. Law enforcement officers discovered in the yellow bag two boxes of .45 caliber ammunition and three .45 caliber firearm magazines, which matched one of the semiautomatic firearms also found in the trap compartment. Law enforcement officers identified the heroin as having been supplied by Taylor and another member of the conspiracy.
Roberts faces a combined statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a potential maximum sentence of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $10 million. Wimbush faces a combined statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a potential maximum sentence of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $5 million. Williams faces a statutory a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Steve Wilson; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Christopher Morgan; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Albert Rhodes; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of Acting Public Safety Director James Sullivan; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. She also thanked officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the New Jersey State Board of Parole for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of the case.
The government is represented by Attorney-in-Charge J. Brendan Day and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to enhance the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of individuals involved in gang-related activities, violent crime, and drug distribution in and around the greater Trenton area. 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.