Gang Members Charged in Connection with Murder and Attempted Murder as Part of RICO Conspiracy

NEWARK, N.J. – A member of the Rollin’ 60s Neighborhood Crips appeared in court today on charges that include attempted murder and murder as part of a RICO conspiracy, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Elijah Williams, aka “Lil Smith,” 21; Jason Franklin, aka “Freak,” aka “OG Freak,” 37; and Tre Byrd, aka “Bands,” aka “G Bandz,” 20, all of Newark, are charged by indictment with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy. Williams was arraigned today before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court. Byrd was arraigned on June 9, 2021 before Judge Wigenton. Franklin remains at large.

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

Williams, Franklin, and Byrd are allegedly members and associates of the Rollin’ 60s Neighborhood Crips. On Sept. 25, 2018, Williams shot at four individuals in Newark, striking two. All of the victims survived the attack. On March 20, 2019, in Irvington, New Jersey, aided and abetted by Franklin and Byrd, Williams fatally shot another victim. On June 20, 2020, in Newark, Byrd worked with another member and associate of the Rollin’ 60s Neighborhood Crips to rob another victim at gunpoint. 

All of the defendants face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents and task force officers of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked special agents and task force officers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig B. Kailimai; prosecutors and detectives with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II; police officers and detectives of the Irvington Police Department, under the direction of Director Tracey Bowers; police officers and detectives of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara; the Essex County Sherriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura; and the Bloomfield Police Department, under the direction of Samuel A. DeMaio, Director of Public Safety. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francesca Liquori of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit.

The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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