Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, working with the Newark Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) arrested six individuals for running an illegal gun distribution network in the City of Newark.
The arrests were made over several days following a three-month investigation initiated by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. The investigation began when detectives from the ECPO’s VIPER Bureau and agents from ATF developed information that Stewart Cole, 27, of Newark was selling illegal weapons in Newark. During the course of the investigation guns, including assault weapons, were purchased by undercover agents. The guns were being sold for $500 to $1,800.
Other members of the organization who were arrested include:
• Richard Boulware, 23, of East Orange
• Raymond Moody, 29, of Newark
• Oscar Goff, 22, of Linden
• Byron Goff, 20, of Linden
• Carlton Brown, 25, of Newark
“With these arrests and the seizure of these weapons, we may have saved lives. While we cannot precisely calculate the number of lives that have been saved, we believed we have kept guns out of the hands of those who may have used them to shoot and kill,’’ said Acting Prosecutor Murray.
“The homicide rate in Essex County remains stubbornly high because too many people have easy access to guns,’’ said Acting Prosecutor Murray. “We are trying to reduce those numbers. This initiative, with the Newark Police Department and the ATF, is part of our ongoing efforts to work in partnership with other law enforcement agencies to fight crime.’’
“Firearms trafficking is how violent offenders, convicted felons and juvenile gang members obtain the firearms they need to further their criminal activity,” said Matthew W. Horace, ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Newark Field Division. “The primary goal of ATF’s firearms trafficking strategy is to prevent violent crime by disrupting and dismantling the firearms trafficking organizations and networks responsible for supplying violent offenders with crime guns. ATF has a long and successful history of combating violent criminal misuse of firearms and the Newark Field Division will continue to take the guns out of the hands of these criminals.’’
Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio said, “The officers and agencies involved have worked diligently in dismantling this illegal gun distribution ring. This is a major achievement and part of our city’s ongoing effort, while working with other law enforcement agencies, to eliminate all illegal guns from Newark. We will continue to work even more with our federal, state and county partners to enhance our efforts, in our continuing drive, to make Newark the safest city in the country. These officers should be commended for a job well done.”
Cole has been charged with one count of serving as the leader of a firearms trafficking network, two counts of conspiracy, two counts of possession of an assault firearm and one count of theft by deception.
Boulware has been charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of possession of an assault firearm. Moody, who also uses the name Shawn Williams, has been charged with three counts of conspiracy and three counts of possession of an assault firearm. Oscar Goff and Byron Goff both have been charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of possession of a firearm. Brown has been charged with conspiracy and theft by deception.
These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.