YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A federal judge in Newark today sent one of the “worst of the worst” ex-cons back to prison for 180 months for terrorizing drug store clerks and customers in four Hudson County holdups.
Reginald H. Ware (Courtesy JERSEY CITY PD)
Jersey City police arrested Reginald H. Ware and an accomplice, Rahoo Drew of Newark, following the string of brazen holdups, one of which netted $10,000 in cash, jewelry and prescription drugs.
In the last two, the robbers used a getaway car they took from a livery driver in New York.
Assistant prosecutors from U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman’s office stepped in and took the case to the federal level, where the penalties are much more severe than under state guidelines.
Ware, of Newark, eventually pleaded guilty in connection with all four holdups, as well as the carjacking. He had little choice, given that Drew already pleaded guilty to similar charges and would have testified against his ex-partner in order to get a reduced prison sentence.
Federal authorities said Ware and Drew robbed the Wisdom Pharmacy at 2717 Kennedy Blvd. in Jersey City on July 27, 2010; the Welcome Pharmacy on West Side Avenue in Jersey City on Aug. 4 of that same year; the Americas Pharmacy on Summit Avenue in Union City on Oct. 14, and Carry Drugs in Jersey City on Oct. 16.
In each, the two men “walked into the pharmacies with firearms in hand and ordered everyone to lie on the floor facing down,” a federal complaint says. “The victims were threatened with death if they did not comply.
“After securing the victims inside the pharmacy, the two men seized controlled substances and took cash from the pharmacies and individual victims, as well as jewelry.”
The case fit perfectly with a request from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that federal prosecutors in all 50 states to start bringing the weight of the government down on the worst of the worst criminals.
Ware — also known as “Ronell Wilson,” “Kyiis M. Justice,” and “Kyyiis Justice” — spent nearly a dozen years in prison for various crimes, mostly holdups, and had been free barely a year when the stickups began in 2010, records show.
With the number of murders and attacks on police officers rising, Holder convened an unprecedented gathering of police chiefs from around the country, along with top federal law enforcement officials, a year ago this month.
There he directed all 93 top federal prosecutors, including Fishman, to meet with police brass in their respective states and identify the “worst of the worst” gun offenders who cycle in and out of state prison.
Federal convictions bring definite sentences that must be served out, with barely a few weeks off for good behavior, as opposed to state sentences that often put offenders back on the street in months, if not weeks.
“It will be a priority for every United States attorney in this country to have that kind of interaction with their state and local counterparts to make sure that we are doing all that we can to keep law enforcement agents… safe,” Holder said at the time.
In addition to the prison term, Judge William H. Walls sentenced Ware to five years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $31,595.63.
Fishman credited Jersey City police and the Hudson County prosecutor’s office, along with the FBI, for making the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys José R. Almonte of Fishman’s General Crimes Unit and Robert Frazer of his Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
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