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Crime & Safety State News

Essex County Felon Admits to Possession of Firearm and Ammunition

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man previously convicted of multiple felonies admitted today to possessing a firearm and ammunition, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Sharif Clarke, 38, of Irvington, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to a superseding indictment charging him with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Dec. 3, 2018, Clarke knowingly possessed a Glock .40-caliber handgun loaded with nine rounds of Remington ammunition. At that time, Clarke had previously been convicted in Essex County Superior Court of resisting and eluding arrest and of possession of a controlled substance on school property, both of which are felonies.

The charge to which Clarke pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2020.

This case is 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 ensures 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.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson, and the Newark Department of Public Safety, under the leadership of Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah A. Sulkowski of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Cybercrime Unit in Newark.

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