Car thief graduates by pleading guilty to federal firearms & drug violations

Shatuwan McCall

An Essex County, New Jersey, man today admitted firearms and marijuana distribution offenses.

Shatuwan McCall, 20, of Newark, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty by videoconference to an information charging him with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

According to U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig, documents filed in this case and statements made in court, law enforcement officers were patrolling locations that had been the site of recent shootings and homicides while conducting a narcotics investigation in the vicinity of South 17th Street in Newark on Dec. 4, 2020, at about 11:00 p.m.

They observed a vehicle, occupied by McCall and another individual, engaged in traffic violations.

As the officers approached the vehicle and illuminated the occupants with their flashlights, they observed a large plastic bag containing a green leafy substance, suspected to be marijuana, on McCall’s lap. 

Law enforcement officers also observed the suspect moving his right arm and hand as though adjusting something in the vicinity of the passenger-side floorboard and they noticed a handgun in McCall’s right hand.

Law enforcement ultimately recovered approximately 15 bags of suspected marijuana, narcotics proceeds, and a .22 caliber Llama revolver loaded with six rounds of ammunition.

McCall was previously arrested on October 9, 2019, when he was the driver of a stolen car that Lyndhurst police chased through Nutley and Belleville before the pursuit ended with a crash into a concrete wall near Washington Place off Route 21 in Newark.  

The count of being a felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of the narcotics trafficking offense carries a mandatory minimum prison term of five years and a maximum of life in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000, which must run consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed on the other two counts. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 24, 2022.

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