October 16, 2018
Contact: Timothy P. McMahon
Phone Number: (973) 776-1100
Grape Street Crips member indicted for murder of innocent bystander
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 a member of the Grape Street Crips gang was indicted today on additional charges in connection with the murder of a bystander at a summer cookout in 2010.
Khalil Stafford, aka “Stod,” 34, of Newark, was indicted today on additional charges in a seventh superseding indictment, including RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, and using a firearm during a crime of violence, in connection with a June 19, 2010, shooting that left a woman dead and two other people wounded. Stafford was previously acquitted of the murder following a trial in Essex County Superior Court.
Stafford – along with Hanee Cureton, aka “City,” aka “Fat Boy,” 33, of Newark, and 12 other defendants – was previously charged with RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Twelve of the 14 defendants charged in the indictment have been convicted. Stafford and Cureton are awaiting trial.
Another 66 members and associates of the Grape Street Crips who were arrested along in a coordinated takedown in May 2015 were separately charged with drug-trafficking, physical assaults, and witness intimidation, and all have been convicted.
On June 19, 2010, during a family cookout on Garside Street in Newark, Stafford confronted an individual about money he claimed the individual owed him. Stafford and several other gang-members left the cookout to retrieve firearms and later returned. They fired numerous shots at the person Stafford had originally confronted. Three people were struck – including a woman who was not involved in the confrontation, but was merely standing on a nearby porch, and was killed – and two other people who were wounded and survived.
Stafford and Cureton were involved in the distribution of heroin from 2003 through 2015. Cureton was a major supplier of heroin to members of the Grape Street Crips at the James Baxter Terrace housing complex from 2003 until Baxter Terrace was demolished in 2009. Stafford distributed both heroin and cocaine at Baxter Terrace.
After Baxter Terrace was torn down, Cureton and Stafford continued to distribute heroin. On Nov. 12, 2013, agents with the DEA searched one of Cureton’s heroin mills, seizing more than a kilogram of heroin, cutting agents, and packaging material. In 2014, Cureton and Stafford sold to DEA confidential informants nearly $20,000 worth of heroin in separate transactions.
Stafford faces a mandatory life sentence in connection with the murder in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. For using a firearm during a crime of violence, he faces a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. For the RICO conspiracy, Stafford faces a maximum term of life in prison.
Cureton faces a mandatory minimum term of 20 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison for the charge of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. For the RICO conspiracy, Cureton faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Valerie A. Nickerson, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the investigation leading to today’s indictment. He also thanked the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II, police officers and detectives of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose, and the Essex County Sherriff’s Office, under the direction of Armando B. Fontoura, for their assistance with the investigation.