Essex County Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearms and Drug Trafficking
NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey man was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for illegal drug distribution and weapons offenses, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New Jersey Division Cheryl Ortiz and U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Keith Rogers, 46, of Newark, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to a superseding indictment that charged him with possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon, maintaining a drug-involved premises, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
On July 23, 2021, Rogers possessed with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base. In furtherance of drug trafficking, Rogers, who was a convicted felon, possessed firearms. Moreover, Rogers maintained two residences within the Pennington Court housing complex in Newark for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, and using a controlled substance, and possessed with the intent to distribute controlled substances.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
It is also part of the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) in Newark. 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. The VCI was formed in August 2017 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the City of Newark’s Department of Public Safety to combat violent crime in and around Newark. As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate and pool resources to prosecute violent offenders who endanger the safety of the community. The VCI is composed of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the ATF, the DEA New Jersey Division, the U.S. Marshals, the Newark Department of Public Safety, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, N.J. State Board of Parole, Union County Jail, N.J. State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center, N.J. Department of Corrections, the East Orange Police Department, and the Irvington Police Department.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Ortiz in Newark and special agents and task force officers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller, with the investigations leading to the charges. He also thanked the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Director Fritz G. Fragé, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II, for their assistance with these cases.