Ghost gun taxi robbers face possible 20 years or more in prison

Naeem Jackson, 22, of East Orange, and Walter Williams-Lang, 20, of Elizabeth, are facing charges of shooting a taxi driver during a late-night robbery that occurred on an Elizabeth street in May.

Two ex-cons seized in the shooting of a taxi driver during a late-night robbery in Elizabeth were identified by federal authorities on Tuesday.

Jackson and Williams-Lang are each charged in a four-count complaint with Hobbs Act violence in furtherance of a planned robbery; discharging a firearm during a crime of violence; conspiracy to use a firearm during a crime of violence; and possessing a firearm as convicted felons.

Jackson called a taxi company in Linden, and ordered a cab to the 400 block of West Grand Street in Elizabeth, where the robbery took place.

The defendants used a P80 semiautomatic handgun, with no serial number and unknown manufacturer, that was assembled with a part from Polymer80, Inc. that is labeled PF940C and other components.

After police caught him, Jackson waived his Miranda rights and directed officers to a North Avenue parking deck where he had discarded the ‘ghost gun’ used during the assault.

“Surveillance video from the parking deck showed the defendants running past the trash bucket and apparently discarding the Ghost Gun into the trash bucket where it was later recovered,” said Special Agent Michael Meawad, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Since Jackson and Williams-Lang have each been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, they are forbidden to possess firearms.

Jackson had his initial appearance by videoconference on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, before U.S. Magistrate Judge José R. Almonte; Williams-Lang appeared on June 30, 2022, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor. Both were detained without bail.

According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, documents filed in this case and statements made in court, at 4:37 a.m. on May 14, 2022, Jackson and Williams-Lang got in a taxi wearing dark clothing and masks over their faces.

Williams-Lang pointed a firearm at the taxi driver while demanding his money.

Jackson then took the firearm from Williams-Lang and pistol-whipped the taxi driver’s head several times before shooting him in the arm.

Jackson and Williams-Lang fled the scene and were arrested after leaving the driver in critical condition from the gunshot wound.

The counts of Hobbs Act violence and conspiracy to use a firearm during a crime of violence are punishable by 20 years in prison; the count of being convicted felons in possession of a firearm is punishable by 10 years in prison; and the count for discharging a firearm during a crime of violence is punishable by a consecutive sentence of 10 years to life in prison.

A study that looked at robbery victimization data by occupation found that taxi drivers were among those most often robbed.

As an occupation or industry, taxi drivers have the highest or among the highest risk of job-related homicide and assault.

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