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Two Grape Street Crips Members Admit Dealing Crack-Cocaine in Newark, New Jersey

OCT 06 (NEWARK, N.J.) –– Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division and Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey announced two members of the Grape Street Crips gang admitted their roles in a two-year conspiracy to distribute crack-cocaine in and around Newark, New Jersey.

Monesha Johnson, a/k/a “Smoove,” 35, of Newark, New Jersey, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in Newark federal court to an information charging her with one count of conspiring to distribute crack-cocaine. Willie Brooks, a/k/a “Animal,” 24, also of Newark, pleaded guilty yesterday before Judge Linares to a separate information charging him with one count of conspiring to distribute crack-cocaine.

In May 2015, over the course of three weeks, 50 alleged members and associates of the Grape Street Crips were charged in criminal complaints that alleged drug-trafficking, physical assaults and witness intimidation. The charges are the result of a long-running investigation led by the DEA and FBI, in conjunction with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Newark Police Department and Essex County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Narcotics. Over the course of the entire investigation, 71 defendants have been charged with federal and state charges.

Johnson and Brooks both admitted that between May 2013 and May 4, 2015, they conspired with others to distribute 28 grams of crack-cocaine in and around the area of 6th Avenue and North 5th Street, in Newark.

The drug distribution conspiracy charge to which Johnson and Brooks pleaded guilty carries a statutory minimum of five years in prison and maximum potential penalty of 40 years in prison. Sentencing for Johnson and Brooks is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2016 and Dec. 15, 2015, respectively.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel, for the investigation leading to the pleas. He also thanked prosecutors and detectives of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray; police officers and detectives of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Director Eugene Venable and Chief Anthony Campos; and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office under the direction of Armando B. Fontoura, for their work. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Osmar J. Benvenuto, Elizabeth M. Harris, and Barry A. Kamar of the Criminal Division in Newark.

This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. 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.


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