TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Trenton narcotics dealer was convicted at trial of distributing a first-degree quantity of cocaine. He was charged in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police, during which he distributed half a pound of cocaine.
Marcus Covington, 37, of Trenton, N.J., was found guilty yesterday, May 17, by a Mercer County jury of all five counts against him in a state grand jury indictment, including a first-degree charge of distribution of cocaine, second-degree charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine within 500 feet of a public housing project, and third-degree charges of possession of cocaine and distribution of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school. He was convicted following a trial before Superior Court Judge Robert W. Bingham II. Covington is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29.
Deputy Attorneys General Michael A. Klein and Sarah Mielke tried the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. They were assisted at trial by Analysts Kimberly Namura and Nathalie Kurzawa. Covington was indicted as the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Gangs & Organized Crime Central Unit and Crime Suppression Central Unit. Detective Douglas Muraglia was the lead detective for the New Jersey State Police.
The state presented testimony and evidence that from Feb. 10 through June 15, 2016, Covington conducted 10 sales of cocaine in Trenton totaling approximately 224 grams. In three of the transactions, Covington was assisted by a co-conspirator, Wayne Meyers, 35, of Trenton. Meyers previously pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree distribution of cocaine and faces a recommended sentence of seven years and two months in prison, with 43 months of parole ineligibility. He is scheduled for sentencing on June 15.
“While the opioid epidemic has rightly focused law enforcement attention on heroin, fentanyl and opioid pain pills, we have not lost sight of the fact that cocaine is involved in hundreds of overdose deaths in New Jersey each year and fuels the gun violence that surrounds street-level drug dealing,” said Attorney General Grewal. “I commend the trial team and State Police detectives who have ensured that this drug dealer will spend a long time in prison, where he can’t traffic his poison.”
“We will continue to partner with the New Jersey State Police to investigate and prosecute the narcotics traffickers profiting from addiction in our communities,” said Director Veronica Allende of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. “As a felon with multiple prior drug convictions, Covington is subject to extended sentences on these charges. We want these recidivist offenders to know that each time they go back to their old tricks, we’ll be there to lock them up for longer terms.”
“By selling cocaine near schools and residential homes, Covington put law-abiding citizens and their children in danger of the gun violence that goes hand-in-hand with drug dealing,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I commend the outstanding work of the New Jersey State Police Gangs and Organized Crime Central Unit and Crime Suppression Central Unit who worked closely with our partners to obtain these guilty verdicts.”
The first-degree charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, including a mandatory period of parole ineligibility equal to one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, and a criminal fine of up to $500,000. The second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison, and the third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison.
Deputy Attorney General Klein presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Erik Daab and Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis. Attorney General Grewal commended the members of the New Jersey State Police Gangs & Organized Crime Central Unit and Crime Suppression Central Unit who conducted the investigation.
Andrew Ferencevych and John Furlong, Esqs., Furlong and Krasny, Ewing, N.J.
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