Drug Enforcement Administration

New Jersey

Valerie A. Nickerson, Special Agent in Charge

September 24, 2018

Contact: Timothy P. McMahon

Phone Number: (973) 776-1100

Three people charged in Newark heroin trafficking conspiracy

NEWARK, N.J. – Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division Valerie A. Nickerson and U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Craig Carpenito announced three men were charged today in connection with their respective roles in a drug trafficking conspiracy.

Ahmad Johnson, a/k/a “OC,” 38; Cory Canzater, a/k/a “Big C,” 45; and Maurice McPhatter, a/k/a “Ree,” 45, all of Newark, were charged today in a five-count indictment. All three defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, including heroin, cocaine and fentanyl (Count One). Additionally, Johnson is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin (Count Two); two counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin (Counts Three and Four); and one count of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon (Count Five). The indictment follows the arrests of seven members of Johnson’s drug trafficking organization in September 2017.

From September 2016 through June 2017, Johnson and others took part in a heroin distribution conspiracy that operated in and around Newark.

Through the use of various investigative methods, law enforcement learned that Johnson was allegedly a leader of the conspiracy and was responsible for obtaining wholesale amounts of narcotics, including heroin and cocaine, and processing and packaging the narcotics for sale. Johnson sometimes found users to “test” the narcotics to evaluate their quality, potency, and danger for broader distribution. Distributors then sold the narcotics to other distributors and to users.

Count One of the indictment, the conspiracy charge against Johnson, Canzater and McPhatter, carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a $10 million fine. Counts Two and Four are punishable by up to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Count Three is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and Count Five is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents and officers with DEA’s High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group 1, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Nickerson, with the investigation leading to today's indictment.

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