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Crime & Safety State News

Newark Man Convicted for Role in Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin and Crack Cocaine

NEWARK, N.J. – A Newark man was convicted today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Cory Canzater, a/k/a, “Big C,” 47, of Newark, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances, one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Canzater was convicted following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark federal court. The jury deliberated 30 minutes before returning the guilty verdicts.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

From May 2017 through June 2017, Canzater engaged in a heroin and crack cocaine distribution conspiracy that operated in and around Newark, led by Ahmad Johnson, a/k/a “OC,” 40, of Newark. Other members of the conspiracy included Maurice McPhatter, a/k/a “Ree,” Willie McPhatter, a/k/a “Roc,” Keith Henderson, and Sacha Negron, all of Newark.

Through the authorized interception of telephone calls and text messages, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative means, law enforcement learned that Canzater was a member of a conspiracy led by Johnson, who was responsible for obtaining wholesale amounts of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, and processing and packaging the drugs for sale in and around Newark.

Johnson pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy and was sentenced on April 15, 2019, to 180 months in prison. Maurice McPhatter, Willie McPhatter, Henderson, and Negron have all pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges and are awaiting sentencing.

This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

The conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life years in prison, and a $10 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 22, 2020.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson in Newark; the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II, and the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose, with the investigation leading to the guilty verdicts. He also thanked the Fairfield Police Department; Bloomfield Police Department; Irvington Police Department; Roselle Police Department; Linden Police Department; Rockaway Township Police Department; and the Irvington Police Department for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia Astorga of the Opioids Unit and Ari B. Fontecchio of the Economic Crimes unit.

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