NEWARK, N.J. – A member of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips was sentenced today to 35 years in prison for his role in a racketeering conspiracy that included a double murder, a separate attempted murder, and conspiring to distribute heroin, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Ahmad Manley, a/k/a “Fresh,” a/k/a “Moddy G,” 32, was convicted at trial of eight counts in a sixth superseding indictment, including RICO conspiracy, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and using firearms during crimes of violence and drug trafficking crimes. The jury returned the verdict on the fourth day of deliberations following a two-month trial before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo, who imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
Manley was charged in November 2016 in a 22-count indictment charging 14 members and associates with seven murders, numerous attempted murders, and numerous other violent and drug trafficking crimes committed as part of the racketeering conspiracy. Thirteen of the 14 defendants charged in the indictment have been convicted and one is awaiting trial.
Another 66 members and associates of the Grape Street Crips who were arrested in a coordinated takedown in May 2015 were separately charged with drug-trafficking, physical assaults, and witness intimidation, and all have been convicted.
According to the documents filed in this case and other cases and the evidence presented at trial:
Acting on the orders Corey Hamlet, a/k/a “C-Blaze,” the leader of the New Jersey Grape Street Crips, Manley and other gang-members targeted Almalik Anderson, the gang’s chief rival, for violence after Anderson had refused to pay Hamlet’s extortion demands.
In October 2013, Hamlet met with Anderson at the Short Hills mall to discuss the dispute between the two men. After the Short Hills meeting, Hamlet used a social media account to post a report from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office purportedly indicating that Anderson had provided a statement to law enforcement. Just three days after Hamlet’s social media post, Manley and other gang members – acting on Hamlet’s orders – repeatedly shot and nearly killed Anderson and Saidah Goines, who was inside Anderson’s car.
After the attempt to kill Anderson failed, Hamlet ordered the murder of Maurice Green, the younger brother of Almalik Anderson. On March 3, 2014, Hamlet and Manley pulled up to a car being driven by Green and two other individuals. Although Hamlet aimed a firearm at Green and the car’s other occupants, Green pulled off before any shots were fired. A short time later, however, Manley found Green, and a car chase ensued. The chase ended when Green’s car crashed into other vehicles at the busy intersection of Irvine Turner Boulevard and Spruce Street in Newark, and Manley and others fired numerous shots in the direction of Green’s vehicle. Green was shot, and Wesley Childs, a passenger in Green’s car, was killed. Velma Cuttino, an innocent bystander who was a passenger in one of the vehicles involved in the crash, was shot and killed.
In addition to orchestrating these acts of violence, Manley conspired with other gang members to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Valerie A. Nickerson with the investigation. He also thanked the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II, police officers and detectives of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose, and the Essex County Sherriff’s Office, under the direction of Armando B. Fontoura, for their assistance.
The case is being prosecuted by Osmar J. Benvenuto, Chief of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard J. Ramsay of the Appeals Division in Newark.
This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
The charges and allegations against the defendant who is awaiting trial are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until convicted.