Eight reputed members of the the violent, drug-dealing Paterson East Side “So Icy Boys” set were sentenced to prison terms stemming from a multi-agency law enforcement sweep.
The heaviest sentence was given to Shadeik Stratford, 19, who got 10 years in exchange for a guilty plea to attempted murder for shooing a fellow gang member in October 2018.
Stratford must serve 8½ years of that term before he'll be eligible for parole.
Behind him is Fabian Frater, 29, of Paterson, who got nine years in state prison, more than 7½ years of which he must serve before becoming eligible for parole.
Frater, who authorities said controlled the day-to-day operations of the drug ring, previously pleaded guilty to racketeering.
The investigation that led to an indictment and subsequent guilty pleas was led by New Jersey’s Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and Paterson police, assisted by State Police and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.
Dubbed "Operation Icebox," it targeted drug trafficking centered on the intersection of 10th Avenue and 28th Street, which for years had been ruled by the Bloods street gang “So Icy Boys" set.
“By putting these drug dealers behind bars, we stopped countless doses of heroin from reaching users across the region," Grewal said, "and we made residents safer by removing a criminal element that was driving gun violence in the neighborhood where they operated.”
Two members of the set were slain during the five-month investigation, he said.
Akean Williams, 27, was found shot dead in the back seat of his Nissan Altima, parked outside a Carribean restaurant at the corner last November. Hours later, relatives of Williams's were victimized in a home invasion.
Another victim was shot three times by Stratford during an internal disagreement, Grewal said.
In 2014, a 12-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet during an ongoing dispute involving gang members that began a year earlier when a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed.
Sentenced Friday along with Fater and Stratford:
• Michael Lawhorn, 28, who was sentenced to five years in state prison, including more than four years of parole ineligibility, in exchange for pleading guilty to racketeering;
• Karon Nevers, 25, who also got five years, three of which he must serve, after admitting he sold heroin;
• Bryant Nevers, 22, who was sentenced to four years in state prison, with 21 months of parole ineligibility, after he pleaded guilty to racketeering;
• Marshea Anthony, 23, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sell drugs and was sentenced to three years.
All are from Paterson.
Nhazir Briggs-Smith, 20, of Elmwood Park, was sentenced to five years in prison -- of which he must serve 3½ years before being eligible for parole -- after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a handgun.
Charles Jackson, 24, also of Paterson, was sentenced on Oct. 11 to five years in state prison for selling heroin within 500 feet of a public par.;
Still awaiting sentencing is Jahvon Parker, 28, who pleaded guilty to selling heroin in a school zone in exchange for a six-year sentence, including 4½ years without parole.
Deputy Attorney General Heather Hausleben prosecuted the defendants for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, Grewal said.
Deputy Attorneys General Regina Oberholzer and Lila Leonard of the Division of Criminal Justice Appellate Bureau assisted with various appellate issues, he added.
The lead DCJ detectives were Lt. Brian Bruton, Sgt. Patrick Sole and Detective Russell Kingsland, the attorney general said. The lead Paterson detectives were Sgt. Robert Orozco, Detective Benny Ramos and Detective Angel Gonzalez, he added.
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