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Three Members of Violent Street Gang Indicted on Racketeering and Murder Charges

This news story was published on December 25, 2012.
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NEWARK—Three Newark men were arraigned today on a 24-count superseding indictment charging them with violations of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, murder, kidnaping, robbery, carjacking, drug conspiracy, other violent acts in aid of racketeering and related charges, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Farad Roland, 28; Mark Williams, 30; and Malik Lowery, 31, all of Newark, were indicted by a federal grand jury and arraigned today on the superseding indictment before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court. Three of the counts charge murder in aid of racketeering, exposing the defendants to the federal death penalty.

According to documents filed in this case:

The South Side Cartel, a sub-set of the Bloods street gang, has operated primarily on Hawthorne Avenue in Newark since 2002. Originally a neighborhood-based gang whose main activities were selling drugs and committing violent acts to aid the drug trafficking business, many of the gang’s members were officially brought into the Bloods gang in 2002 and 2003. As early as 2005, the gang was officially named The South Side Cartel. The South Side Cartel was generally known among state and federal law enforcement as the most violent street gang operating in Newark, committing numerous murders, shootings, robberies, and other violent acts in furtherance of its enterprise.

Throughout the time period charged in the superseding indictment, the gang based its criminal activities out of apartments located inside buildings dubbed the Twin Towers, located at 496-500 Hawthorne Ave. The Twin Towers were the scene of repeated narcotics and gun arrests by local law enforcement between 2002 and 2010. Many of the South Side Cartel members had tattoos depicting these buildings and the “SSC” logo, representing the gang’s initials.

The superseding indictment charges the defendants with participating in a host of racketeering acts to further the South Side Cartel’s goals, including: (1) the retaliation murders of two rival gang members on March 27, 2008, outside the Oasis Bar located on Lyons Avenue in Newark; and (2) the murder of a fellow South Side Cartel member who had fallen into disfavor with the gang on October 20, 2007, inside of a residence at 128 Bragaw Avenue in Newark. All the victims were shot to death. The superseding indictment also charges the defendants with carjacking, assault with dangerous weapons in furtherance of racketeering for shootings of rival gang members, and a conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine.

At its peak, the South Side Cartel had about 20 members or associates, many of whom have since been killed in gang-related murders or who are serving prison sentences in state and federal prisons for gang-related crimes. Defendants Roland, Williams, and Lowery represent the last of the leadership of the gang.

South Side Cartel leader Amin Roland, 35 (the brother of defendant Farad Roland), was convicted by a jury in July 2012 of being a felon in possession of a firearm. On November 29, 2012, Judge Salas sentenced Amin Roland to the statutory maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

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