What to Know
- 27 members of a Newark-based street gang, named the CKarter Boys, face federal narcotics and weapons charges, according to sources
- Eighteen defendants were arrested early Tuesday, several were already in custody, and others are being sought, the sources said
- The investigation was conducted by the U.S ATF, DEA and Newark Police
Twenty seven individuals, several who are members and associates of a Newark-based street gang, face a myriad of federal narcotics charges after a takedown of a drug-trafficking organization that operated from inside abandoned buildings near an elementary school and generated about $10,000 on a daily basis, according to prosecutors.
Twenty defendants were arrested early Tuesday, five were already in custody on state charges, and two remain at large, prosecutors say.
The charges and arrests resulted from a long-running wiretap investigation led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, in conjunction with the Newark Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The charges include operating a continuing criminal enterprise and conspiracies to distribute heroin and crack cocaine.
“These defendants are charged with orchestrating and participating in a massive drug trafficking organization that pumped heroin and crack cocaine into the streets of Newark and surrounding areas virtually non-stop,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. “As alleged in the complaint, they operated out of an abandoned home in Newark that they turned into a fortress protected by illegal firearms, which featured a fast-food-style drive-through window for the quick and easy sale of these dangerous drugs."
According to court documents, several of the charged are members and associates of the Bloods-affiliated Ckarter Boys gang — a play on “the Carter,” the name of the drug distribution building in the 1991 film New Jack City. As Bloods members, the CKarter Boys use the letters “CK” to signify “Crip Killer,” a sign of disrespect to their rival gang, the Crips.
Prosecutors say the investigation revealed that the organization’s leaders operated a massive drug market 24 hours a day, seven days a week, "flooding the streets of Newark with heroin and crack cocaine and generating approximately $10,000 in daily revenue."
Prosecutors say the organization sold heroin and crack cocaine to customers out of two neighboring, abandoned houses near the Newark-Irvington border.
"These drug dens were located in the heart of a residential community, just two blocks from the Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, an Irvington public school serving children from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade," according to prosecutors.
The organization made efforts to fortify one of the abandoned residences – located on South 20th Street in Newark – by boarding up all doors and windows "until it was virtually impenetrable," prosecutors say.
The accused allegedly accessed the residence by a ladder to a second-floor window, pulling the ladder inside behind them. Once inside, they would sell heroin and crack-cocaine through a small hole that was cut out on a first-floor outer wall, allowing customers to purchase narcotics in exchange for currency, "similar to a restaurant’s drive-through window," according to prosecutors.
Additionally, prosecutors say that the defendants stored narcotics, a communal cell phone that was used to operate the business, and firearms, including a .45 caliber Hi-Point and 9mm Sig Sauer firearms, and several boxes of .45 caliber and .380 caliber ammunition that were seized during the investigation in an outside shed.
The accused face a myriad of drug-related charges, with some facing a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted and others facing a maximum sentence of 40 years.