|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that an assistant basketball coach at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson was arrested yesterday evening on charges that he possessed more than 7 ounces of cocaine that he intended to distribute. Jimmie D. Smith allegedly struck a law enforcement car with his SUV and assaulted detectives during his arrest.
Smith, 41, of Edmund Avenue in Paterson, a full-time instructional aide and freshman basketball coach at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson, was arrested by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, who developed information through an investigation that Smith allegedly was dealing cocaine. They allegedly found over 7 ounces of powder cocaine in Smith’s vehicle following his arrest. Task force officers for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Newark assisted in the arrest.
Smith is charged with first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, second-degree possession of cocaine within 500 feet of a public housing facility (Riverside Terrace Development), three counts of second-degree aggravated assault, and two counts of third-degree aggravated assault on a police officer. He is lodged in the Passaic County Jail with bail set at $500,000 cash.
“It’s alarming that this man who worked so closely with young students as a high school coach and instructional aide also allegedly was involved in drug dealing,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “It’s fortunate that our detectives uncovered his alleged double life and arrested him, because there’s absolutely no room in our schools for criminals.”
“Smith faces very serious charges, including a narcotics charge that carries a sentence of up to 20 years in state prison,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Beyond that, he is charged with violently assaulting the detectives who arrested him. His high bail reflects the serious nature of the allegations against him.”
Detectives approached Smith about 6:40 p.m. yesterday in the parking lot of the Home Depot store on McClean Boulevard in Paterson as Smith was sitting in his SUV. The detectives activated the flashing lights on their vehicles and identified themselves as officers, but Smith allegedly attempted to drive away. As he sped out of the parking lot onto 5th Avenue, he allegedly struck the car of one of the detectives with his SUV. Smith then allegedly abandoned his vehicle and led detectives on a foot chase. Detectives caught up to Smith, but before they could subdue and handcuff him, he allegedly assaulted and injured two of the detectives.
The first-degree charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $500,000 upon conviction. The second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine, while the third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Because they are indictable offenses, the charges will be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment.
Smith has worked in the Paterson School District since 1999 and has been an assistant basketball coach at the high school since 2008.