TRENTON –Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that nine alleged members of a drug network run by a violent set of the Bloods street gang have been indicted on charges including first-degree racketeering for distributing heroin and other drugs in Paterson. Ten people who allegedly bought heroin, cocaine, or the anesthetic ketamine, aka “K,” from the ring face drug possession charges.
The state grand jury indictment, handed up yesterday, stems from “Operation Icebox,” an investigation led by the Division of Criminal Justice 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 in Paterson. The drug ring allegedly 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 allegedly involving an internal dispute between members of the gang. The non-fatal shooting and one of the murders occurred at 10th Avenue and 28th Street.
The indictment charges nine alleged members of So Icy Boys with first-degree racketeering and second-degree conspiracy. They are variously charged with additional drug and/or weapons offenses. Fabian Frater, 29, allegedly controlled the day-to-day operations of the drug ring during the investigation. Shadeik Stratford, 19, is charged with first-degree attempted murder in the non-fatal shooting of a fellow gang member on Oct. 27, 2018. The victim, who is not identified in the indictment, suffered three gunshot wounds.
“In Operation Icebox, we dismantled a narcotics network run by a set of the Bloods street gang that allegedly was dealing large quantities of heroin in a violence-torn neighborhood,” said Attorney General Grewal. “By taking down these alleged drug dealers in Paterson, which is a heroin distribution hub, we stopped countless doses of heroin from reaching users across the region each week, and we made the city safer by reducing street-level drug dealing and the violence that invariably accompanies it.”
“This strategic investigation, conducted in partnership with the Paterson Police Department, targeted a criminal organization that we allege was fueling the deadly opioid epidemic and compromising the safety and quality of life 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.”
Deputy Attorney General Heather Hausleben presented the indictment to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis. 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 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 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.
The following defendants were indicted on charges of first-degree racketeering and second-degree conspiracy, among other offenses:
The first-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, including a period of parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent of the sentence imposed, and a fine of up to $500,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The second-degree charge of certain persons not to possess a weapon carries a minimum term of parole ineligibility of five years. The third-degree drug charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $35,000 for the possession charges or $75,000 for the distribution and possession-with-intent charges.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Passaic County, where the defendants will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.
Michael Korbanics, Esq., for Frater; Mark Ranges, Esq., for Anthony; David Pine, Esq., for Jackson; Matthew Cavaliere, Esq., for Bryant Nevers; Jeffrey Simms, Esq., for Stratford; Peter Festa, Esq., for Briggs-Smith; Paul Condon, Esq., for Parker; Perry Primavera, Esq., for Lawhorn; Undetermined for Karon Nevers.