NEWARK, N.J. – Ten Jersey City men have been charged for their roles in a pharmacy burglary conspiracy that victimized at least 40 pharmacies in northern New Jersey in a three-month span, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.
Mohummad Simmons, 25, a/k/a “Mo Waps;” Tamir Brown, 27, a/k/a “Stragg;” Rico Phang, 19, a/k/a “Little Mil;” Deon Davis, 24, a/k/a “Dee;” Michael Simeus, 27, a/k/a Jerk;” David Booker, 28; Darrel Hicks, 25; Daquan Hart, 22, a/k/a “Day Day;” Jamiel French, 27, a/k/a “Money Mil;” and Tyriq Rembert, 28, all of Jersey City, New Jersey, are each charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit burglary involving controlled substances. Simmons, Hart, and Rembert appeared by videoconference for their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III on Jan. 22, 2021, and Hicks appeared today by videoconference for his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda D. Wettre. Brown is in custody on related state charges. The remaining defendants are at large.
“The complaint charges that the defendants went on a crime spree throughout northern New Jersey, breaking into pharmacies and stealing dangerous controlled substances, including opioids,” Acting U.S. Attorney Honig said. “I applaud the Drug Enforcement Administration and our local law enforcement partners for responding quickly to identify these suspects so that they can be brought to justice.”
“The success of this investigation was the result of teamwork, the sharing of information between law enforcement agencies, and good, old-fashioned police work,” Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division Susan A. Gibson said. “Those arrested thought they could get away with their crime wave of theft, but they will now face justice. The public should know that DEA and our law enforcement partners will always pursue those who choose to violate the law.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From Oct. 11, 2020, through Dec. 22, 2020, the defendants forcibly entered and burglarized, or attempted to burglarize, pharmacies throughout northern New Jersey. They typically wore dark clothing, facemasks, and gloves, and gained entry to the pharmacies by breaking windows or doors with a brick or a rock. They took various types of controlled substances and other prescription drugs for the purpose of redistribution. During these burglaries, several controlled substances were prioritized, including codeine, a Schedule II controlled substance, acetaminophen with codeine, a Schedule III controlled substance, and promethazine with codeine, a Schedule V controlled substance. Pharmacies were victimized in Secaucus, North Bergen, Linden, Guttenberg, Kenilworth, Madison, Short Hills, Iselin, Jersey City, West New York, North Arlington, and Lyndhurst.
For example, on Oct. 11, 2020, at approximately 4:40 a.m., Simmons, Phang and a conspirator forcibly entered a pharmacy in Secaucus and took promethazine with codeine, a Schedule V controlled substance, and were recorded on surveillance video. They fled the scene in a black Chevrolet Malibu registered to Simmons. Prior to the burglary, the Malibu approached the area of the burglary following a silver Pontiac Grand Prix. Immediately after the burglary, the Malibu departed the area following the Pontiac.
In another instance, on Nov. 6, 2020, at approximately 5:45 a.m., Simmons and Phang forcibly entered a pharmacy in Linden with the intent to steal controlled substances. Approximately one hour and fifteen minutes before the burglary, the two men had been the subjects of a motor vehicle stop in Union, New Jersey, while traveling in the Malibu. Surveillance video footage from the pharmacy in Linden showed Simmons and Phang wearing the same clothing that they were wearing during the body camera footage of the motor vehicle stop. The surveillance video also showed Simmons and Phang depart the area of the burglary in the Malibu.
The charge of conspiring to burglarize pharmacies carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited the Secaucus Police Department, under the direction of Chief Dennis Miller, with leading the investigation into this multi-jurisdictional burglary ring, along with special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson. She also thanked the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Jersey City, North Bergen, Harrison, Hillside, Elizabeth, Guttenberg, Kearny, North Arlington, Bernards Township, Maywood, Lyndhurst, Millburn, Linden, Woodbridge, Madison, West New York, Clifton, Parsippany, Roselle, Hoboken, Edison, Kenilworth, Highland Park, Belleville, Teaneck, and Bayonne police departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Desiree Grace Latzer, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, in Newark.