NEW JERSEY–(ENEWSPF)–August 29, 2016. A Newark, New Jersey, man pleaded guilty today to his role in a violent and long-running racketeering conspiracy perpetuated by the “South Side Cartel,” a set of the Bloods street gang based in Newark, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey.
Malik Lowery, aka Leek, 35, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in the District of New Jersey to multiple counts of a second superseding indictment charging him with racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, carjacking, robbery affecting interstate commerce and conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, one kilogram or more of heroin and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine. Lowery is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 6, 2016.
In pleading guilty to the racketeering charges, Lowery admitted that he was involved in the murder of a South Side Cartel member on Oct. 20, 2007; committing an armed carjacking with fellow South Side Cartel members on Jan. 3, 2008; and robbing a drug dealer on Feb. 3, 2008, among other acts.
The South Side Cartel was once known among law enforcement and the FBI as the most violent street gang operating in Newark, committing numerous murders, shootings, robberies and other violent acts in furtherance of the enterprise. The gang is a subset of the Bloods street gang that has operated primarily from two apartment buildings, dubbed the “Twin Towers,” located on Hawthorne Avenue in Newark. Local law enforcement has made repeated narcotics and gun-related arrests at these buildings from 2002 to 2010. Many of the South Side Cartel members have tattoos depicting these buildings and the gang’s initials. At its peak, the South Side Cartel had about 20 members or associates, many of whom have since been killed in gang-related murders or are serving prison sentences for gang-related crimes.
Lowery and his co-defendants, Mark Williams, aka B.G., and Farad Roland, aka B.U., represent the last of the gang’s active members. On Aug. 10, 2016, Williams pleaded guilty to racketeering and related charges before Judge Salas. Roland is scheduled to begin trial in September 2017 on five murder charges.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI’s Newark Division, Newark Police Department and Essex County Prosecutor’s Office investigated the case. Trial Attorney Robert Feitel of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Frazer and Courtney Howard of the District of New Jersey’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark are prosecuting the case.