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April 7, 10

NEWS / 22 Leaders, Members & Associates of Violent Bloods Set Indicted Under New Jerseys Gang Criminality S

Murder, murder plots and prison smuggling charged in state grand jury indictment

TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that 22 alleged members and associates of the violent Nine Trey Hillside Beehive set of the Bloods street gang, including its two top leaders, were indicted on charges including first-degree gang criminality as a result of a joint investigation targeting the Paterson-based set.

The 36-count indictment, returned late yesterday, stems from Operation Swarm, an investigation by the New Jersey State Police, Division of Criminal Justice, Department of Corrections’ Special Investigations Division, Paterson Police Department, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office and Passaic County Sheriff’s Department. The gang activities of this Bloods set extended through Passaic, Essex, Monmouth and Cumberland counties, but its primary area of operations was Paterson. In addition to alleged murder conspiracies and distribution of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, the investigation uncovered smuggling of drugs and cell phones into the state prisons.

“This is the first time that the Attorney General’s Office has obtained an indictment under New Jersey’s new anti-gang laws,” said Attorney General Dow. “The charges of gang criminality and promoting organized street crime are specifically geared to prosecuting the criminal activities of gangs and their leaders, and each charge carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison. We have taken down the leadership of this violent set of the Bloods street gang, and our aim in prosecuting the defendants is to see that the punishment fits their crimes.”

According to Director Taylor, the set’s founder and leader, or “Godfather,” Clarence Scott, 35, allegedly ran the gang from New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, where he is serving a life sentence, 35 years without possibility of parole, on a 2002 conviction for murder. Scott allegedly made Asmar Bease, 29, of Paterson, “Godfather” for the street, second in rank only to Scott. As Scott’s top man outside the prison system, Bease allegedly utilized violence and intimidation to control the gang’s drug-dealing turf on 17th Avenue between East 27th and East 29th Streets in Paterson. Another defendant, Aimee Harker, 34, of Vineland, allegedly served as the primary conduit to facilitate three-way calls between Scott and other gang members, both inside and outside the prison system.

Scott, Bease and all 20 other defendants named in the indictment are charged under the state’s new criminal code provisions with first-degree gang criminality. They include Brian Teel, a former corrections officer in New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, who is charged with taking $500 in payment to smuggle a cell phone into prison for Scott.

Scott, Bease and three others are charged with the new first-degree offense of promoting organized street crime for allegedly organizing, supervising or financing the gang’s criminal activities. The others charged with that offense are Bease’s alleged second in command on the street, Corey Cauthen, 29, of Paterson; Lewis Alford, 33, of Keansburg, who allegedly oversaw gang operations in Monmouth and Ocean counties; and Isaac Porter, 38, of Paterson.

“New Jersey’s anti-gang laws provide police and prosecutors with new weapons in their fight against criminal street gangs,” said Criminal Justice Director Taylor. “We will use every weapon in our arsenal to combat the violent gangs that have been terrorizing our residents and degrading the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

The investigation was led by Detective Mark Finnegan of the New Jersey State Police Street Gang North Unit; Deputy Attorney General Christopher Romanyshyn of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau; Investigator Raphael Dolce and Principal Investigator Vincent Wojciechowicz of the Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division; and Detective Sgt. Dalton Price of the Paterson Police Department Gang Intelligence Unit. Attorney General Dow also credited the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department for their valuable assistance throughout the investigation. She thanked all of the individuals who worked on the investigation for the participating agencies.

Deputy Attorney General Romanyshyn presented the case to the state grand jury.

Several defendants are charged with murder or conspiracy to commit murder. Cauthen is charged with murder in the death of Daniel Ragonese. Ragonese was shot in his car on East 28th Street in Paterson on Jan. 12, 2008 and drove a short distance before crashing into a tree.

In addition, Scott and Bease are charged with conspiracy to commit murder for allegedly plotting to kill another defendant, Oshun Black, 34, of Paterson. The alleged plot was thwarted as a result of the investigation. And four other defendants, Bryan Thomas, 21, Lamont Williams, 21, Keith Brinkley, 19, and Kosmick Leary, 20, all of Paterson, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder for another alleged murder plot thwarted by investigators in January 2009.

Isaac Porter, who was an inmate at Northern State Prison in Newark, is charged with using female associates outside the prison to procure drugs and cell phones and smuggle them into the prisons during contact visits. His former cell mate in Northern State Prison, David Clay, 35, who is now in Bayside State Prison, is also charged in that scheme. The prison smuggling allegedly was carried out under the supervision of Scott and Bease.

Three women, Tyla Chance, 38, of Paterson, Kisha Ruff, 40, of Newark, and Natasha Peyton, 31, of Paterson, are charged with arranging three-way calls for Porter with gang members and obtaining drugs to be smuggled into prison by themselves or others. A girlfriend of Clay, Cynthia Gainey, 38, of Paterson, is charged with attempting to smuggle marijuana to him.

Porter is charged with leading a narcotics trafficking network, a first-degree offense. Bease and Cauthen are also charged with that crime, which carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Terry Young, a girlfriend of Scott’s, is charged with purchasing a cell phone to be smuggled to him in prison, and shipping the phone to Teel along with a $500 U.S. Postal Service money order as a bribe for smuggling it.

As a result of arrests made during the investigation and a search warrant executed at 227 17th Avenue in Paterson on Aug. 13, 2008 detectives seized 6,850 decks of heroin worth approximately $48,000, 50 ten-dollar bags of crack cocaine, and six small bags of marijuana.

The first-floor apartment at 227 17th Avenue was used by the gang as a headquarters and a base for distributing narcotics. The tenant of that apartment in Paterson, Roshiema James, 37, and most of the other defendants are charged with narcotics offenses. Certain defendants are charged with weapons offenses. Several defendants, including Bease and Cauthen, are charged with tampering with evidence or witnesses and/or hindering apprehension or prosecution in connection with the murder of Daniel Ragonese.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The indictment was returned yesterday afternoon and handed up to Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg in Mercer County.

The following additional defendants were charged:

* Kelvin Wells, 21, of Paterson;
* Kahseem Allah-Shabazz, 32, of Paterson; and
* Qhasheema Frye, 20, of Paterson

After the indictment was returned, warrants were issued for three defendants, Porter, Alford and Wells, who were arrested last night. Porter and Wells were arrested in Paterson, and Alford was arrested in Long Branch.




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