AFRO-LINEAL ORGANIZED CRIME – State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation 1989 Report

AFRO-LINEAL ORGANIZED CRIME The term Afro-lineal organized crime refers to a broad category that includes criminal core groups or syndicates of African-Americans, Jamaicans, West Indians, Nigerians, Haitians and other persons of African ancestry.

Law enforcement has long been reluctant to accept the existence of Afro-lineal organized crime, based primarily on an opinion that such ethnic groups were incapable of structuring a syndicate of any consequence. Moreover, despite the existence of major organized criminal groups in surrounding areas, New Jersey was unrealistically viewed as not having a problem of Afro-lineal organized crime. In New York City, for instance, drug lord Leroy "Nicky" Barnes, with his multi-million dollar heroin syndicate, was recognized as a significant rack- eteer in the late 1970's. And in Philadelphia at the same time, the late "Black Mafia" member Tyrone Palmer controlled a lucrative heroin and cocaine distribution network. Nonetheless, law enforcement tended to be concerned more with the volume of arrests of individual narcotics offenders than with a detailed intelligence collection effort targeting the groups that distributed the narcotics.

It was the sudden emergence of Jamaican posses with their wanton violence and the nationwide expanse of their drug distribution network that opened the eyes of many law enforcement officials to the problem of Afro-lineal organized crime. Within the last few years, a few local law enforcement agencies in New Jersey have begun an active approach to the narcotics problem, and to the collec- tion of intelligence on Afro-lineal groups involved, on group structures and on identification of leaders.

sible for at least seven murders and one attempted murder. The group's drug dealing is estimated to have grossed between $3.5 million and $4 million during that same period. Bilal Pretlow continued to act as supervisor, even while in Union County Jail, by having unlimited access to a telephone and by having his subordinates call-forward his calls to public telephones and designated private residences. A total of 31 members were arrested in November, 1989, and charged with various narcotics violations. Law enforcement officials believe that at least 20 to 30 additional members of the group, mostly juveniles, escaped detection and arrest. Historically, many ardent supporters of illegal numbers gambling were in the African-Ameri- can community. Over the decades, the illegal lotteries and numbers games were actually controlled by the LCN, and black operatives worked within the framework established by them. Today, that control has begun to diminish in some areas of New Jersey. In Camden County, for instance, one such African-American numbers group has been operating independently for several years under the control of Leonard A. Jones. This group also conducts its illegal gambling in parts of Gloucester and Burlington Counties and is estimated to net nearly $1 million dollars per year.

In northern New Jersey, on the other hand, African- American illegal gambling operatives work with the LCN. For example, Louis H. Tyler of Jersey City runs a gambling and narcotics operation in conjunction with the Genovese/Gigante LCN family. In Trenton, a person known as Wayne Pack conducts an illegal lottery which lays off to Gambino/Gotti LCN associate Anthony "Pushy" Pulcinello. Several other African-American gambling operations exist in New Jersey but their status – either independent or affiliated with another organ- ized crime group – has not been determined.

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