Cedric Lewis had been out of state prison all of two months when detectives who’d been watching him moved in and found several weapons – including a rifle loaded with 30 rounds of ammo – along with crack and heroin that they said belonged to him.
With the heat on, the Bloomfield ex-con headed south but was captured by U.S. marshals in Atlanta three months later.
Lewis, 29, will be headed to federal prison for a much longer stretch than before depending on the outcome of a grand jury indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Newark that charges him with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearms, among other counts.
Lewis more recently served nine months in state prison for drug and weapons convictions. He was released last July.
In September, he became the target of a local task force drug investigation headed by the Essex County Sheriff's Office, Acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Rachel Honig said.
On Sept. 20, Lewis was seen holding a rifle in the passenger seat of a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was chasing another vehicle in Elizabeth, Honig said. The rifle had a high-capacity magazine that contained 30 rounds of .300-caliber ammunition, she noted.
Police chased the Jeep into Newark but lost it on Frelinghuysen Avenue. It was later found abandoned -- with the rifle inside -- on Van Vechten Street, authorities said.
Five days later, a raid on Lewis’s apartment turned up a 9mm Glock pistol reported stolen out of North Carolina with an extended magazine; a .40-caliber Glock handgun -- also with an extended magazine -- and varying quantities of heroin (stamped “Steel City”), crack and Xanax, as well as drug paraphernalia, a scale and $800 in suspected drug cash, Honig said.
Lewis skipped town, however, launching a manhunt. Marshals from Georgia captured him on Dec. 4.
Honig credited members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, special agents of the ATF Newark Field Division, deputy marshals with the U.S. Marshals Service New Jersey District and deputy marshals with the U.S. Marshals Service in the Northern District of Georgia with the investigation leading to the indictment. She also thanked Bloomfield police for their assistance.
The case is part of "Project Guardian," a Justice Department initiative that targets gun crime, the U.S. attorney said.
Handling the prosecution for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Levin of Honig’s Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.