Six Arrested in Connection with Alleged Kidnapping and Death of Atlantic City Woman

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 18, 2011 released the following:

“CAMDEN, NJ— Six South Jersey residents charged by complaint in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a 20-year-old Atlantic City woman last March were arrested today, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

A team of more than 50 federal, state, county, and local law enforcement officers executed a series of federal arrest warrants early this morning in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Nadirah Ruffin.

According to the complaints, the victim was with four other women in a private residence in Atlantic City on March 26, 2011, when a number of intruders wearing masks and dark hooded sweatshirts and armed with handguns entered the residence. The intruders bound and blindfolded the women, then searched the residence for drugs and money. At least two of the women were pistol-whipped by the intruders, who remained for 30 to 40 minutes before leaving, taking Nadirah Ruffin with them. Her body was found in the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia on April 19, 2011. An autopsy revealed she died from a gunshot wound.

Three Atlantic City residents—a woman and two men—were taken into custody this morning on federal warrants in connection with Nadirah Ruffin’s death. They were charged with kidnapping resulting in the victim’s death, robbery, and weapons offenses. Shamerria Smith, 24, Aziz Sanders, 18, and Deshawn Hicks, 19, will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider this afternoon.

Two other men were arrested and charged with tampering with a potential witness in connection with the investigation. Henry Ruffin, 40, of Williamstown, and Ronnie Ruffin, 42, of Lindenwold (neither of whom are related to Nadirah Ruffin), are accused of using physical force and threats of physical force to prevent a witness from providing information to the FBI and other investigating officers. Ronnie Ruffin is defendant Smith’s father. Henry Ruffin is an uncle to defendants Smith, Sanders, and Isiah Ruffin.

Isiah Ruffin (no relation to Nadirah Ruffin), 20, of Atlantic City, was arrested and charged with giving false information to FBI special agents who were investigating the disappearance and death of Nadirah Ruffin.

“The kidnapping and murder allegations in the complaint detail an indifference to human life that is shocking,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “The complaint describes how associates of those responsible attempted to use threats, violence, and lies to prevent us from finding and arresting the suspects. We are grateful for the tireless and cooperative investigative work of the Atlantic City Police Department, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the FBI, which ultimately led to the arrests of all of those involved.”

“This investigation is of utmost importance to the FBI Safe Street Task Force due to aspects of home invasion, robbery, kidnapping, and the senseless murder of a young woman and mother,” Michael B. Ward, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division, said. “Such acts of violence will not be tolerated and will be met forcefully by the united efforts of law enforcement. Today’s arrests of six subjects believed to be responsible for this extreme violence are an example of that commitment, and would not have been possible without close coordination and partnership with the Atlantic City Police Department, Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Philadelphia Police Department, New Jersey State Police, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. We also would like to recognize the Philadelphia Division of the FBI for their assistance in today’s arrests.”

“I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI for their supercession of this investigation at the federal level,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said. “Our agency is pleased to have partnered with federal authorities in this interstate cooperative endeavor not only so as to pool resources in this complicated investigation, but additionally to be able to potentially seek more serious penalties, which a federal prosecution can result in under the appropriate circumstances.”

“This is a very significant arrest,” Deputy Chief Ernest Jubilee, Commander of the Atlantic City Police Department, said. “This is the most significant series of arrests made in one case this year. It was a tragic occurrence and I’m glad that the collaborative effort put forth by all agencies has resulted in these arrests.”

The arrests were the culmination of an intensive investigation by the Atlantic City office of the FBI, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Atlantic City Police Department. Members of FBI SWAT – Newark and Philadelphia; FBI Evidence Response Team; N.J. State Police TEAMS;” Atlantic City Police Department SWAT Team and detectives; the Philadelphia office of the FBI; and the N.J. State Police participated in today’s arrest operation.

The defendants, charges, and potential maximum sentences are as follows:

Defendant Charges Maximum potential penalty
Shamerria Smith (1)  

Count 1—Hobbs Act Robbery

 

Count 2—Kidnapping

 

Count 3—Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence

 

 

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

 

Death penalty eligible; $250,000 fine

 

Mandatory minimum five years in prison; Maximum, life in prison; $250,000 fine

 

Aziz Sanders (2)  

Count 1—Hobbs Act Robbery

 

Count 2—Kidnapping

 

Count 3—Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence

 

 

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

 

Death penalty eligible; $250,000 fine

 

Mandatory minimum five years in prison; Maximum, life in prison; $250,000 fine

 

DeShawn Hicks (3)  

Count 1—Hobbs Act Robbery

 

Count 2—Kidnapping

 

Count 3—Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence

 

 

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

 

Death penalty eligible; $250,000 fine

 

Mandatory minimum five years in prison; Maximum, life in prison; $250,000 fine

 

Isiah Ruffin (4) Count 4—False Statements Five years prison; $250,000 fine
Henry Ruffin (5) Count 5—Witness Tampering 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine
Ronnie Ruffin (6) Count 5—Witness Tampering 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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