Essex County man admits to possessing firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime
NEWARK, N.J. – Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, Susan A. Gibson, and U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, announced an Essex County, New Jersey, man today admitted possessing a handgun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Ricky Terrell, 24, of Newark, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Court Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, specifically, the possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine.
Stephen Crane Village is a public housing complex in Newark, on the border with Belleville. From February 2019 through February 2020, law enforcement officers investigated individuals who controlled an open-air drug market that operated within Stephen Crane Village.
Through numerous controlled purchases of narcotics, consensually recorded telephone calls and text messages, physical surveillance, and the analysis of telephone call detail records, law enforcement determined that numerous individuals conspired to distribute and did actually distribute narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and cocaine base, in and around Stephen Crane Village.
On Feb. 25, 2020, law enforcement lawfully searched Terrell’s residence and recovered heroin and cocaine, a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun, and numerous rounds of ammunition.
The possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime carries a statutory mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, a maximum of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for April 21, 2021.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents and task force officers of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; special agents and task force officers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson in Newark; the Belleville Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mark Minichini; the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose; the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II; and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service, the Nutley Police Department, the Bloomfield Police Department, the West Orange Police Department, the Verona Police Department, the Orange Police Department and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance with this case.