Camden Cocaine Supplier Admits to Contracting Out Six Murders
MAY 31 -- (CAMDEN) – Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA New Jersey Division and U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, along with Acting Camden County Prosecutor Joshua M. Ottenberg, announced that former Camden drug leader Raymond Morales pleaded guilty in July 2005, admitting that he contracted out six murders and the attempted murder of a witness, and has been cooperating with federal law enforcement authorities since before his guilty plea.
Law enforcement officials acknowledged for the first time that Morales, 35, of Camden, pleaded guilty on July 27, 2005, to a nine-count Superseding Information. The Superseding Information, which was unsealed on May 9, 2007, charges Morales with six counts of ordering a murder in the furtherance of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise (“CCE”); one count of witness tampering by ordering the attempted murder of a witness; one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine; and one count of being a principal administrator of a CCE that operated in Camden from 1993 until 2003.
As a result of his plea, Morales faces a maximum penalty of seven life sentences and seven 20-year mandatory minimum sentences (one for the CCE and each of the six murders); the drug count carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison with a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years in prison; and a 20-year maximum prison term on the witness tampering charge.
To date, 23 defendants directly connected to Morales’ CCE have been charged federally in any of six Indictments, seven of which have pleaded guilty, as a result of a 4-year investigation that was assisted with the cooperation of Morales. Additionally, 35 suspects were arrested on state charges over the course of the overlapping investigations.
A CCE charge is the illegal drug trafficking equivalent to the RICO statute and represents the most powerful federal drug charge that is intended to punish drug-lords and violent drug organizations, and carries a maximum prison sentence of life for the principal administrators of the CCE.
Morales was one of the leaders and principal administrators of a long-term, large-scale drug trafficking CCE that operated in Camden for over 10 years. In addition to running their own crack cocaine distribution street set, the Morales organization distributed hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to several major buyers, each of whom was the leader of his own drug trafficking organization or worked for such an organization. Morales strengthened the affiliated drug trafficking organizations to whom he distributed cocaine by providing high quality cocaine in substantial quantities at relatively low prices, thereby 3 ensuring the continued vitality of those affiliated drug trafficking organizations.
At his plea hearing, Morales admitted hiring others to kill six individuals and an attempt to kill a witness, all of which were in the furtherance of his CCE. Morales admitted his involvement in the following murders, which occurred in Camden and Philadelphia;
Morales admitted that he distributed kilograms of cocaine directly to the leaders of other drug trafficking organizations with whom he was friendly. Those leaders, according to the Indictment, included Jevon Lewis, Mack Jones, 34, a.k.a. “Bear,” Mark Davis, 28, of Camden, a.k.a. “Dos” and “Andos,” and Ronald Damon, 38, a.k.a. “Rockmeyer.” Through the course of the investigation, each of these leaders and certain members of the organizations have been arrested and federally charged.
One of those leaders, Jevon Lewis headed a long-term, large-scale drug trafficking organization which operated in and around the city of Camden. According to the Indictment, from early 2001 until September 2002, Morales supplied the Jevon Lewis organization with over 50 kilograms of cocaine.
Another leader identified as Mack Jones, headed a long-term, large-scale drug trafficking organization in Camden. Beginning in early 2001 and continuing to the middle of 2003, the Mack Jones organization purchased over 50 kilograms of cocaine from Morales .
Ronald Damon, 37, of Camden, a.k.a. “Rockmeyer,” was the leader of a high profile narcotic trafficking network known as the “300 Morse Street Crew,” who Morales also supplied with kilogram quantities of cocaine. This organization allegedly controlled the powder and crack cocaine markets in Camden’s Eastside section.
Morales also supplied an organization run by Mark Davis, who was identified as the leader of the Ablett Village drug trafficking organization. Davis and his organization possessed multiple firearms, including an AK-47 assault rifle.
The investigation into the Morales organization also resulted in the arrests and guilty pleas of some of Morales’ cocaine suppliers. Alvaro Ramos-Gonzalez, 41, and Carlos Alberto Ramos-Gonzalez, 53, both Mexican nationals who illegally entered the United States and resided in Tucson, Ariz., pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy to distribute more than 300 kilograms of cocaine. At their plea hearings both admitted their involvement in a conspiracy in which numerous trips were made to bring large quantities of cocaine were driven across the country from Tucson to the Philadelphia/Camden area to supply Morales.
On May 10, 2007, Six or five additional members of major Camden cocaine distribution organizations were arrested on two separate Indictments, which were returned on April 25, 2007. The first Indictment charges Karah Moore, 32, of Camden, with murdering Pedro Cruz in furtherance of Morales’ CCE. Allegedly, Moore, a.k.a. “Rabeen” and “Rah Rah,” was hired by Morales to kill Cruz. After Cruz was fatally shot on April 24, 2001, Morales paid Moore with $10,000 worth of cocaine for committing the murder.
In the second Indictment, Ismael Zayas, 37, of Camden, is charged with working for Morales as a middleman. According to the Indictment, Morales did not deal directly with drug leaders whom he did not trust or he considered dangerous. According to the Indictment, Zayas acted as a middleman and sold cocaine to the self-styled “MOB Boys,” which was run by several partners. The MOB Boys operated an open air drug market in the middle of the 1200 block of Morton Street in Camden. According to the Indictment, from the middle of 2001 to early 2003, the MOB Boys purchased over 50 kilograms of cocaine from Zayas. Also charged in the Indictment are Andres Morales, a.k.a. “Andy,” of Camden, who worked for Raymond Morales, Stephen Lindsey, AGE, a.k.a. “Crush,” of Camden, Joseph Rosario, AGE, a.k.a. “Farfito” and “Joey Crack,” of Camden, and Melvin Brown, AGE, a.k.a. “Rice,” of Camden, all three worked for the Mack Jones organization.
In January 2005, federal, state, county and local officials announced a cooperative effort among the U.S. Attorney’s Office, DEA, ATF, FBI and U.S. Marshal’s Service to assist local, county and state law enforcement in their mission to combat crime in the City of Camden. The investigations that resulted in the Indictments were led by the DEA and the Philadelphia/Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.
Gerard P. McAleer, DEA New Jersey Division, Special Agent in Charge, stated, "This is another example of how violence and murder are significant components of a drug trafficking enterprise. This is a direct message to criminals that want to continue their illegal drug trade we will continue to utilize all of our law enforcement resources to eliminate drug fueled violence.” Nearly two and a half years ago, we set out on a mission to bring greater resources to the fight against drugs and lawlessness in the City of Camden,” Christie said. “We made it clear then that we wanted to help Camden move out of the national spotlight as a crime capital and ahead with its future. Today we are announcing how this successfully investigation came together through the fruits of our combined efforts to improve Camden.”
“These indictments and arrests clearly demonstrate once again the significant impact law enforcement agencies can make when we work together to battle illegal narcotics trafficking and the violence often associated with it,” Acting Camden County Prosecutor Joshua M. Ottenberg said. “I am extremely proud of the members of my office and the other agencies for their efforts, which culminated in the indictments we are announcing today. Our ultimate objective is nothing less than enhancing the quality of life for residents in Camden and surrounding communities.”
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diana V. Carrig, Howard Wiener and Jason Richardson of the U.S. Attorney's Criminal Division in Camden.
Despite Indictment or being charged in a criminal complaint, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and federal law.