August 11, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that 10 alleged Trenton gang members and associates were indicted today on weapons charges stemming from their arrest last year, when the New Jersey State Police led an operation to halt anticipated gang violence and seized six guns—including an illegal “ghost gun”—and outlawed large-capacity ammunition magazines.
The Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau today obtained a state grand jury indictment charging 10 alleged members and associates of the Garfield/Cleveland/Logan or “GCL” gang and the associated “the Section” gang with second-degree weapons offenses, which carry a sentence of up to 10 years in state prison with mandatory periods of parole ineligibility.
The defendants were arrested late last year as the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central Unit (“CSCU”). Through the investigation, detectives developed information that members of the GCL/Section gang were attending a large house party on Tyrell Avenue in Trenton on the night of Nov. 24, 2020, and many of them were armed with handguns. Detectives learned that rival gangs knew of the party and that there was a high chance of a shooting.
Based on this intelligence, the New Jersey State Police obtained a search warrant which they executed after midnight, seizing weapons and drugs, and arresting the 10 defendants who are charged in today’s indictment. Members of the CSCU executed the search warrant with assistance from the State Police T.E.A.M.S., K-9, and Aviation Units, and members of the Trenton Police Department, Hamilton Township Police Division, and Ewing Township Police Department.
During execution of the search warrant, authorities seized:
- Six semi-automatic handguns, including a 9mm polymer “ghost gun” and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a defaced serial number;
- Four illegal large-capacity ammunition magazines;
- Hollow-point bullets;
- Nine bricks of heroin and fentanyl— or roughly 450 individually packaged doses;
- Eight vials of suspected crack cocaine.
Ghost guns are not registered and do not have serial numbers, making them difficult to trace and making it harder for law enforcement to solve gun crimes.
“We’re working hard to stop the gun violence committed by rival gang members, who put residents and children at risk in our communities,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “Through their quick response, the New Jersey State Police likely stopped a shootout in a residential section of Trenton and saved lives. This indictment is an important step by the Division of Criminal Justice to prosecute these defendants for allegedly arming themselves with illegal guns.”
“This case is an excellent example of law enforcement cooperating to address the threat posed by armed gang members,” said Director Lyndsay V. Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’ll continue to collaborate with the State Police and our other law enforcement partners in Trenton and throughout New Jersey to improve safety and quality of life for our residents.”
“How and where the illegal guns seized in this operation were going to be used thankfully remains an untold story, but what is certain is that it would have ended in tragedy,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The prompt response by the detectives in our State Police Crime Suppression Central Unit and our law enforcement partners undoubtedly saved lives. We remain committed to working shoulder to shoulder with our law enforcement partners, community leaders, and city residents to build and maintain safer neighborhoods in Trenton.”
The state grand jury indictment is posted online at:
The indictment charges the following 10 men with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon in connection with five of the handguns seized at the residence where the party was held (each man is charged in connection with all five guns); third-degree possession of a firearm without a serial number (ghost gun); fourth-degree possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number; fourth-degree possession of illegal large-capacity magazines; and third-degree possession of cocaine:
- Samuel Vincent, 26, Trenton, N.J.
- Antwan Tootle, 22, Trenton, N.J.
- Jaheim Myles, 20, Trenton, N.J.
- Jerome Bennett, 20, Burlington City, N.J.
- Terron Bazemore, 21, Trenton, N.J.
- Stafford Knowles, 19, Hamilton (Mercer County), N.J.
- Quameir Billups-Taylor, 23, Trenton, N.J.
- Anthony Robbins Jr., 20, Trenton, N.J.
- Jahad Blackshear, 20, Trenton, N.J.
- Domtrell Wilkins, 21, Trenton, N.J.
Tootle, Bennett, Myles, Vincent, and Knowles are also charged with second-degree possession, receipt or transfer of a “community gun”—a gun allegedly shared by a criminal group—in connection with those five guns. Bazemore is charged separately with unlawful possession of a sixth handgun, a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol he allegedly had on his person when arrested.
Vincent, Tootle, and Billups-Taylor are charged with second-degree possession of a weapon as a convicted felon, and because he has a prior conviction for second-degree aggravated assault, Vincent is also charged with first-degree unlawful possession of a weapon. Vincent also faces third-degree charges of possession of heroin and possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
After their initial arrests, Vincent, Myles, Knowles, Robbins, and Bennett were ordered detained in jail pending trial. The other defendants were released subject to conditions.
Deputy Attorney General Karen Braciszewski presented the indictment to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Cassandra Montalto, Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis, and DCJ Deputy Director Annmarie Taggart.
Acting Attorney General Bruck commended the members of the New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central Unit for their investigation. He thanked the State Police T.E.A.M.S., K-9, and Aviation Units, as well as the Trenton Police Department, Hamilton Township Police Division, and Ewing Township Police Department for their assistance in execution of the search warrant.
First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The charge of possession of a weapon as a convicted felon carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of five years, and unlawful possession of a handgun carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility equal to one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed or 3 ½ years, whichever is greater. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
This investigation is another step towards reducing gun violence in New Jersey, one of Acting Attorney General Bruck’s key priority areas. In addition to long-term enforcement actions, the Attorney General’s Office and local, state, and federal law enforcement partners are holding a series of gun buyback programs around the state, as well as performing targeted sweeps of fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants for violent offenses, as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat gun violence.
For Samuel Vincent: Jarred Freeman, Esq.
For Antwan Tootle: Edward J. Hesketh, Esq.
For Jaheim Myles: Kelly A. Smith, Esq.
For Jerome Bennett: Undetermined.
For Terron Bazemore: Kevin Hewitt, Esq.
For Stafford Knowles: Melissa D. Karabulut, Esq.
For Quameir Billups: Taylor: Rukiya Blackwell, Esq.
For Anthony Robbins Jr.: Lauren Wimmer, Esq.
For Jahad Blackshear: William M. Fetky, Esq.
For Domtrell Wilkins: Steven C. Lember, Esq.
Previous MidJersey.news story here: