TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a drug dealer from Ocean County was sentenced to 31 years in prison today in connection with an investigation that led to seizures of heroin, cocaine, an assault rifle, and stolen handguns from a residence and a motel where he was staying.
Anthony M. Simpson was sentenced to 31 years in state prison, including 18 years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Michael T. Collins in Ocean County. Simpson was found guilty in February by Judge Collins following a bench trial of 16 charges, including first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute; second-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute; multiple second-degree weapons offenses, including four counts of unlawful possession of a handgun, possession of a firearm during commission of a drug crime, and possession of a weapon as a convicted felon; three counts of receiving stolen property; possession of prohibited large capacity firearm magazines; and possession of prohibited hollow-point bullets. Because of his prior criminal record, he was sentenced to an extended-term sentence of 26 years, including 13 years without parole, on the first-degree cocaine charge, consecutive to a sentence of five years without parole on the charge of possession of a firearm during commission of a drug crime. Concurrent sentences were imposed for the other charges.
Deputy Attorney General Sarah Mielke tried Simpson and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. He was charged in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Gangs & Organized Crime Central Unit.
Simpson was arrested by the New Jersey State Police on March 13, 2015. The State Police Gangs & Organized Crime Central Unit had developed information that Simpson was dealing heroin from a residence in Lakewood where he stayed and a motel room in Brick. Following his arrest on a warrant, the State Police executed a search warrant at the residence in Lakewood, where they seized three stolen handguns, 10 ounces of cocaine, 1.4 ounces of heroin, marijuana, ammunition that included over 100 hollow-point bullets, drug packaging materials, and a scale. All of the seized items were contained in a backpack. The State Police then conducted a consensual search of the motel room in Brick, where they seized an AK-47 assault rifle, three large capacity magazines, and a 9mm semiautomatic handgun.
“The heroin, cocaine and guns seized from this defendant starkly illustrate the threat he posed to the public,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This lengthy prison sentence reflects our commitment to protect the people of New Jersey by aggressively targeting the drug dealers who are fueling addiction and bringing illegal firearms into our communities.”
“The verdict and prison sentence we secured in this case send a strong message to drug dealers like Simpson that they will be held accountable for their crimes,” said Director Veronica Allende of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. “We are working closely with the State Police to investigate and prosecute these criminals and stop the flow of illegal drugs and guns into our communities,”
“The arrest, conviction, and subsequent sentencing of Simpson should send a clear message to anyone who seeks to bring illegal drugs and guns into our communities,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “The New Jersey State Police remains committed to working with our partners at the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice to ensure that those individuals are identified, arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Additionally, the public can rest assured that the State Police is using every investigative tool at our disposal to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
Deputy Attorney General Mielke prosecuted the case under the supervision of Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa and Deputy Bureau Chief Erik Daab of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. DAG Mielke was assisted at trial by Detective Sgt. Rasheed Joaquin, who was lead detective on the case for the State Police Gangs & Organized Crime Central Unit, Analyst Kimberly Benjamin, and Victim-Witness Coordinator Melissa Miller. Attorney General Grewal commended the trial team and all of the members of the New Jersey State Police who worked on the investigation.
Defense Attorney: Durann A. Neil, Esq., Neil Law, Atlantic City, N.J.