NEW BRUNSWICK — Twenty-five people, including 21 gang members and associates, were indicted today by a Middlesex County grand jury on charges stemming from a massive racketeering conspiracy that involved an on-going turf war and led to the fatal shooting of an innocent man in his home in New Brunswick more than a year ago, Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced.
The 79-count indictment identified the 25 defendants as participants in various aspects of gang-related activity, including murder, attempted murder, racketeering, aggravated assaults, robberies, terroristic threats, drug possession and distribution and weapons offenses.
The indictment, handed up in New Brunswick, charges the individuals with having various roles in the continuing criminal enterprise that used violence, intimidation and threats to control victims and witnesses, and used the proceeds of drug sales to help finance their own lifestyles and post bails and pay attorneys fees for fellow gang members charged with crimes in other cases.
The racketeering conspiracy, which dates back to January 2001, included charges that three of the gang members were directly involved in the fatal shooting on May 4, 2012 of Richard Chang, 40, who was struck by a bullet as he sat inside his home at 412 Birch Court in New Brunswick.
It was the death of Mr. Chang that initiated the on-going investigation and resulted in the crackdown on the Bloods street gang, which operated in parts of Middlesex and Somerset counties. Twenty one of the defendants were among members and associates of three separate Bloods sets that were involved in an internal rivalry that escalated to violence in New Brunswick and surrounding communities.
‘’The tireless efforts of law enforcement officers from the New Brunswick Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office have seriously hampered an on-going criminal enterprise that had continuously threatened the safety and welfare of the residents of Middlesex and Somerset counties,’’ Carey said.
He noted that the indictment marked the first time in Middlesex County that the state’s racketeering statute has been used to bring criminal defendants to justice.
Of the 25 individuals indicted today, 21 of them were charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering for participating in on-going gang activities. In addition, 20 of the defendants were charged with conspiring to commit murder in the death of Chang.
Three of the defendants had been arrested and charged on November 15, 2012 with murder and murder conspiracy and have remained in custody in lieu of bail.
Most of the defendants were arrested and charged in a series of raids that began on April 24. Others were charged during the on-going investigation. Defendants are being held on bails ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million. One defendant has been listed as a fugitive and remains at large.
Carey said a number of police agencies participated in the on-going investigation and he thanked them for spending hundreds of hours working on the case. Among agencies that assisted were the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, the Edison Police Department, the Sayreville Police Department, the Piscataway Police Department, the North Brunswick Police Department, the Franklin Township Police Department, the Jamesburg Police Department, the Monroe Police Department, the South River Police Department, the Rutgers University Police Department, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Special Operations Response Team (SORT), the Middlesex County Department of Corrections, and the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department.
The lead investigators in the case were Investigator Craig Marchak, Investigator Jeff Temple, and Sgt. Paul Miller, all of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and Sgt. Mark Pappas, Detective Ronoldy Martinez, and Detective Brandt Gregus, all of the New Brunswick Police Department.
Among those indicted was Taladeen Ross, 28, of Sayreville, who was charged as the leader of a criminal organization. He also was indicted on charges of racketeering and conspiring in the murder of Chang. Drug and weapons offenses also were filed against him by the grand jury. Included was a count charging that he maintained a controlled dangerous substance facility that produced heroin.
The three defendants indicted on murder and murder conspiracy charges are: Nadrell McMillan, 21, and Quaadir Hagood,21, both of New Brunswick, and Zaire Franklin Sherman, 20, of Piscataway.
Additional defendants, all charged with murder conspiracy and racketeering are Chad Butler Jr., 22, Tereak Butler, 19, Maurice Fields, 23, Sidney Williams, 22, Jamil Anthony, 26, Jashire Reid, 21, Darnell Ricketts, Jr., 21, Dwayne Johnson, 28, Kenneth Robinson, 30, and Paul Staten, 29, all of New Brunswick. All are in custody except Staten, who remains a fugitive.
Also charged with racketeering and murder conspiracy are Jaamar Hill, 23, of New Brunswick, Devin Gardner, 22, of Piscataway, Dylan Freer, 27, of North Brunswick, Pedro Vickers (DOB 8/12/88) of Edison, Jamir Hill, 21, of New Brunswick, and Desire Robinson, 19, of the Somerset section of Franklin Township.
Sharna Ross, 29, of Sayreville was charged with racketeering, and maintaining the heroin production facility with her husband, Taladeen Ross.
In addition, the grand jury charged Shaniqua Doyle (DOB 6/5/89) of Edison with possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in East Brunswick on December 18, 2012. April Thompson (DOB 6/4/84) of Jamesburg was charged with weapons and cocaine possession, possession with intent to distribute and endangering the welfare of a child on April 24, 2013.
The grand jury also charged Darrel Morrison, 24, of Jamesburg with possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and two counts of possessing prohibited devices, a switchblade knife and a stun gun, in Jamesburg on April 24. Taneja Oliver, 21, of New Brunswick was charged with hindering police by providing false information on April 24 during the investigation.
The grand jury handed up three separate indictments accusing Taladeen Ross, Darnell Rickets and Dylan Freer as certain persons not to have weapons. The panel charged those defendants had been convicted of unrelated offenses, but continued to possess weapons.
The investigation is active and continuing. Authorities are asking anyone with information to call Investigator Marchak of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4159, or Detective Gregus of the New Brunswick Police Department at (732) 745-5200.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the defendants charged in this case are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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