NEWARK, N.J. – A federal grand jury today indicted an Essex County, New Jersey, man for illegally possessing several firearms, including an AM-15 rifle, as well as quantities of crack cocaine and heroin with the intent to distribute, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Cedric Lewis, 30, of Bloomfield, New Jersey, is charged with two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, two counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Lewis was previously charged by complaint in October 2020. He will be arraigned on a date to be determined.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:
In September 2020, law enforcement officers began investigating Lewis for his involvement in distributing controlled substances in Newark. They learned about Lewis’ involvement in an incident on Sept. 20, 2020, in which Lewis was in a car in the Newark/Elizabeth area while he possessed 118 jugs containing suspected crack cocaine, as well as an AM-15 rifle with a high-capacity magazine that contained 30 rounds of .300 caliber ammunition.
On Sept. 25, 2020, law enforcement officers lawfully searched Lewis’ apartment and recovered: one 9 millimeter pistol with an extended magazine; one .40 caliber pistol with an extended magazine; drug paraphernalia and a scale; $800 in United States currency; one clear plastic bag containing a distribution quantity of suspected crack cocaine; several bundles of distribution quantities of suspected heroin; and nine suspected Xanax pills.
The narcotics offenses each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a fine of $1 million. The counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm each carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. The counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime each carry a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed – and a maximum potential penalty of life in prison. Each firearm count carries a maximum fine of $250,000.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura; special agents of the ATF, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson; deputy marshals with the U.S. Marshals Service in the District of New Jersey, under the supervision of U.S. Marshal Juan Mattos Jr.; as well as deputy marshals with the U.S. Marshals Service in the Northern District of Georgia, under the supervision of U.S. Marshal Michael S. Yeager, with the investigation leading to today’s indictment. She also thanked the Bloomfield Police Department for its assistance with this case.
This case is a part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Levin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations against the defendant are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.