Federal authorities say three New Jersey men have been charged in connection to their roles in a series of armed robberies in Passaic County last year.


30-year-old Kareem Powell of Willingboro has been charged with two counts of Hobbs Act robbery and two counts of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Powell’s co-defendants, Carlos Diaz and Edward Porter, both 30 years old and from Paterson, are facing multiple counts of the same charges.

The Hobbs Act, named after Congressman Sam Hobbs of Alabama, was enacted in 1946. It prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion that affects interstate or foreign commerce. It also forbids conspiracy to do so.


According to court documents, the following crimes are alleged to have occurred:

  • On the evening of August 22nd, 2022, Powell, Diaz, and Porter robbed a Passaic bodega of several thousand dollars while pointing their guns at a victim and threatening to kill him.
  • Later that same evening, the trio also robbed a business in Paterson of several thousand dollars.

During both robberies, officials say Powell, Diaz, and Porter menaced customers with handguns and ordered them to lie on the ground.

  • On the evening of August 23rd, 2022, Diaz and Porter robbed a Passaic liquor store of several thousand dollars at gunpoint. While inside the store, Porter used his gun to pistol-whip a victim on the face.
  • Later that evening, Diaz and Porter committed an additional gunpoint robbery of a business in Paterson. While inside the store, Porter pushed one victim and wrestled with a different victim, dragging the victim to the floor while attempting to take the victim’s handbag.

Potential penalties

Each count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.

Hobbs Act robbery carries up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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