The Famous Boyz sold fentanyl-laced heroin and warned snitches on social media, 'there gone (sic) be a murder,' feds say Federal prosecutors have charged 17 alleged members and associates of a Bloods street gang in Newark in a drug trafficking conspiracy authorities say used threats of violence to keep members in line.
Along with crack cocaine, members of the Famous Boyz gang sold fentanyl-laced heroin so potent it prompted one customer to remark, "I don't want to kill myself," an investigator from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said in a criminal complaint. Authorities identified John Mosley, 31, as the gang's part-time leader, as well as its primary supplier of drugs.
Three other men -- Patricio Hernandez, Jonathan Hernandez and Jahid Vauters -- have in turn been accused of keeping Mosley flush with drugs to sell.
Attorney's Office in Newark, which announced the charges Thursday, said a joint local and federal investigation of the Famous Boyz, initiated by ATF and Newark police, uncovered numerous social media posts threatening retaliation against police informants.
Members of the gang -- a subgroup of the Bloods' Brick City Brims faction -- adopted the mantra "no face, no case," warning associates "there gone (sic) be a murder" if they were found cooperating with law enforcement, according to the criminal complaint.
Federal agents and local investigators are still probing more than a dozen shootings prosecutors say are linked to a rivalry between the Famous Boyz and another unspecified gang, prosecutors said in a statement announcing the charges.
The gang, which operated in the area of South 15th Street and 18th Avenue, was founded in 2014 and became the target of federal investigators in April 2017, the complaint states.
Newark Police Department's Shooting Response Team and Criminal Intelligence Units began investigating in 2016 several violent incidents that police say stemmed from the gang.
The ATF joined the investigation in 2017.
Agents from ATF and the Drug Enforcement Administration, along with Newark police and detectives from the Essex County sheriff and prosecutor's offices, ultimately built a case against the 17 defendants using a combination of court-authorized telephone wiretaps, surveillance and search warrants, prosecutors said.
Fourteen of the gang members were arrested Thursday, while three others were already in state custody, the U.S.
Attorney's Office said.
Gang members, investigators say, advertised many of their criminal activities on Facebook, posting photos of themselves flashing large amounts of cash and posing with firearms.
"Got Us Dancing With The Devil ....
Chasing This Money," the caption of one such photo read.
The new case against the Famous Boyz is the second major takedown of a Bloods-linked drug-trafficking operation in Newark by federal prosecutors this year.
A total of 28 alleged members of the Brick City Brims were charged between March and September in what federal prosecutors said was an elaborate drug dealing operation run out of affordable housing in the city's Central Ward.
Attorney Craig Carpenito's office has attributed the stepped-up prosecutions to the Newark Violent Crime Initiative, a partnership between local, state and federal law enforcement which pools investigators to target violent offenders and gang members in the city.
Prosecutors said the 14 defendants arrested Thursday were scheduled to make their first appearances in U.S.
District Court that afternoon.
It was not immediately clear Thursday which, if any, of the defendants had attorneys who could comment on the charges.
Thomas Moriarty may be reached at email@example.com.
Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriarty. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips