MONMOUTH COUNTY – Following a two-week trial, a man has been convicted of trafficking multiple drugs throughout the county, officials said.
Damion Helmes, 42, of Cliffwood, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, one count of possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Helmes was found not guilty of two firearms offenses.
After an investigation by the FBI’s Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force, a group of 20 people, which included Helmes, were charged in August 2019 with conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
On August 25 of this year, a grand jury returned a six-count third superseding indictment charging Helmes with conspiracy and substantive cocaine and crack cocaine offenses as well as firearms offenses.
Officials said Helmes is the last of the 20 defendants charged in the original criminal complaint to be convicted of one or more federal crimes.
Helmes and the other defendants were involved in a narcotics conspiracy, selling cocaine throughout Monmouth County. This included Cliffwood, Keansburg, Matawan, Keyport, Red Bank, Long Branch, Neptune, and Asbury Park, as well as Brick Township in Ocean County.
According to officials, Helmes obtained regular supplies of cocaine from his conspirators, cooked portions of that cocaine into crack cocaine, and redistributed cocaine and crack cocaine for profit to other conspirators, distributors, sub-dealers, and end users throughout Monmouth County.
Helmes now faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison, a potential maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, and a fine of up to $5 million on the counts of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and possessing 28 grams or more of cocaine base with the intent to distribute. He also faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison as well as a $1 million fine on the cocaine conspiracy and cocaine distribution counts of conviction.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force (including representatives from the Bradley Beach, Brick, Howell, Toms River, Union Beach and Marlboro police departments, and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; the Red Bank Police Department, under the direction of Chief Darren McConnell; the Keansburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief Andrew Gogan; the Middletown Police Department, under the direction of Chief Craig Weber; the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago; the Highlands Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Burton; the Holmdel Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Frank Allocco; and the Long Branch Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director William Broughton, with the investigation leading to the guilty verdict.