NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In April, we reported on 15 alleged gang members and associates being charged in a massive case of racketeering and turf-war gang violence that wound up killing a New Brunswick man when a stray bullet ripped through his house in May of 2012.
Yesterday, a grand jury sitting in the New Brunswick indicted 25 people in the wide-ranging case, including ten city residents. One of those residents, Paul Staten, age 29, remains a fugitive according to a statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO).
According to the indictment, 21 of the defendants are known gang members or associates, mostly affiliated with the Bloods street gang – a gang that has ties across the country.
A state survey released three years ago estimated that there were approximately 392 gang members in New Brunswick, with a total of 13 different gangs operating in the city.
The 79-count indictment accuses the defendants of being involved in gang-related activity, which includes "murder, attempted murder, racketeering, aggravated assaults, robberies, terroristic threats, drug possession and distribution, and weapons offenses," according to the MCPO statement.
The indictment said defendants had "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 attorney fees for fellow gang members charged with crimes in other cases."
The defendants' bails range from $500,000 to $1.5 million.
Officially, the indictment charges 21 of the defendants with conspiracy to commit racketeering – a conspiracy that allegedly dates back to 2001. It marks the first time in Middlesex County history that racketeering charges have been leveled by a prosecutor.
Twenty of the defendants are also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Richard Chang, a 40-year-old contractor who was killed when a stray bullet from a nearby shootout struck him while he was sitting in his Birch Court home.
The shootout, which came half a day after a similar gunfight on Neilsen Street that morning, was the result of building tensions in an internal turf war between three sects of Bloods.
Increased violence in Middlesex and Somerset Counties put pressure on law enforcement to begin cracking down on the gangs.
In late April of this year, police raided multiple residences and charged 15 individuals with conspiracy to commit racketeering – twelve of whom were also charged with conspiracy to commit murder, in the case of Chang’s death. The other three were already in custody under the same charge, having been arrested last November
Thirteen agencies have been involved in developing the case since then.
Acting Prosecutor Andrew Carey extended his thanks to the agencies for spending hundreds of hours working on the case, according to the press release.
"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.
The defendants and their charges, as described in the MCPO press release:
Among those indicted was Taladeen Ross (DOB 8/20/84) 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 Mr. 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 (DOB 2/19/92) and Quaadir Hagood, (DOB 11/29/91) both of New Brunswick, and Zaire Franklin Sherman (DOB 9/22/92) of Piscataway.
Additional defendants, all charged with murder conspiracy and racketeering are Chad Butler Jr., (DOB 7/26/90), Tereak Butler (DOB 5/31/94), Maurice Fields (DOB 4/27/90), Sidney Williams (DOB 1/06/91), Jamil Anthony (DOB 6/12/87), Jashire Reid (DOB 5/12/92), Darnell Ricketts, Jr. (DOB 3/10/92), Dwayne Johnson (DOB11/29/84), Kenneth Robinson (DOB 4/26/83), and Paul Staten (DOB 2/7/84), all of New Brunswick. All are in custody except Staten, who remains a fugitive.
Also charged with racketeering and murder conspiracy are Jaamar Hill (DOB 2/17/90) of New Brunswick, Devin Gardner (DOB 1/16/91) of Piscataway, Dylan Freer (DOB 2/1/86) of North Brunswick, Pedro Vickers (DOB 8/12/88) of Edison, Jamir Hill (DOB 6/15/92) of New Brunswick, and Desire Robinson (DOB 8/15/93) of the Somerset section of Franklin Township.
Sharna Ross (DOB 2/7/84) 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 (DOB 11/10/89) 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, 2013. Taneja Oliver (DOB 5/31/92) of New Brunswick was charged with hindering police by providing false information on April 24, 2013 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.
Anyone with information in this on-going investigation may 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.