TRENTON - Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that eight defendants were sentenced to prison – including seven sentenced today – as the result of an investigation into a violent set of the Bloods street gang that distributed heroin and other drugs in Paterson.
The defendants were indicted in “Operation Icebox,” an investigation led by the Division of Criminal Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and the Paterson Police Department. The New Jersey State Police and Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office provided assistance.
Operation Icebox targeted a drug trafficking network based at 10th Avenue and 28th Street. The network was led by a local Bloods set known as the “So Icy Boys.” During the five-month investigation, two members of So Icy Boys were murdered. In addition, another gang member was wounded in a shooting involving an internal dispute between members of the gang. One defendant pleaded guilty in that non-fatal shooting. The non-fatal shooting and one of the murders occurred at 10th Avenue and 28th Street.
“In Operation Icebox, we dismantled a drug trafficking network run by a violent set of the Bloods street gang that was dealing large quantities of heroin,” said Attorney General Grewal. “By putting these drug dealers behind bars, we stopped countless doses of heroin from reaching users across the region and we made residents safer by removing a criminal element that was driving gun violence in the neighborhood where they operated.”
“This proactive investigation, conducted in partnership with the Paterson Police Department, targeted a criminal organization that was fueling the deadly opioid epidemic and compromising the safety and security of city residents,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to collaborate with law enforcement partners in Paterson and throughout New Jersey to fight drug trafficking and reduce violence.”
“This is another example of the results we achieve when all levels of law enforcement work collaboratively to protect our residents and address the opioid epidemic that is devastating our communities,” said Paterson Police Chief Troy Oswald. “Through investigations like Operation Icebox, we are dismantling the violent drug sets in Paterson that are major sources of heroin for the region.”
The following defendants were sentenced today by Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed in Passaic County, with the exception of Jackson, who was sentenced by Judge Mohammed on Oct. 11:
• Fabian Frater, 29, of Paterson, who controlled the day-to-day operations of the drug ring during the investigation, pleaded guilty to racketeering and was sentenced to nine years in state prison, including over 7 ½ years of parole ineligibility.
• Shadeik Stratford, 19, of Paterson, pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison, including 8 ½ years of parole ineligibility. Stratford pleaded guilty in connection with the non-fatal shooting of a fellow gang member, referenced above, on Oct. 27, 2018. The victim suffered three gunshot wounds.
• Michael Lawhorn, 28, of Paterson, pleaded guilty to racketeering and was sentenced to five years in prison, including over four years of parole ineligibility.
• Karon Nevers, 25, of Paterson, pleaded guilty to third degree distribution of heroin and was sentenced to five years in prison, including 3 years of parole ineligibility.
• Nhazir Briggs-Smith, 20, of Elmwood Park, N.J., pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a handgun and was sentenced to five years in prison, including 3 ½ years of parole ineligibility.
• Charles Jackson, 24, of Paterson, pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin within 500 feet of a public park and was sentenced to five years in prison.
• Bryant Nevers, 22, of Paterson, pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin within 1,000 feet of a school and was sentenced to four years in prison, with 21 months of parole ineligibility.
• Marshea Anthony, 23, of Paterson, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and was sentenced to three years in prison.
One defendant is awaiting sentencing. Jahvon Parker, 28, of Paterson, pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin in a school zone and faces a sentence of six years in prison, including 4 ½ years without parole.
Deputy Attorney General Heather Hausleben prosecuted the defendants for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis and Deputy Bureau Chief Cynthia Vazquez. Deputy Attorneys General Regina Oberholzer and Lila Leonard of the Division of Criminal Justice Appellate Bureau assisted with various appellate issues. The lead detectives for the Division of Criminal Justice were Lt. Brian Bruton, Sgt. Patrick Sole, and Detective Russell Kingsland, under the supervision of Deputy Chief of Detectives Christopher Donohue and former Chief of Detectives Paul Morris. The lead detectives for the Paterson Police Department were Sgt. Robert Orozco, Detective Benny Ramos, and Detective Angel Gonzalez, under the supervision of Capt. Stanley Rodriguez, Capt. Patrick Murray and Chief Troy Oswald.
Attorney General Grewal commended the prosecutors, detectives and officers of the Division of Criminal Justice and Paterson Police Department who conducted Operation Icebox. He also thanked the New Jersey State Police and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office for their valuable assistance.
Defense Attorneys: Michael Korbanics, Esq., for Frater; Jeffrey Simms, Esq., for Stratford; Perry Primavera, Esq., for Lawhorn; Paul Condon, Esq., for Parker; Robert Gallucio, Esq., for Karon Nevers; Peter Festa, Esq., for Briggs-Smith; David Pine, Esq., for Jackson; Matthew Cavaliere, Esq., for Bryant Nevers; and Marni Statmore, Esq., for Anthony.
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