TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a former assistant basketball coach at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson was indicted today on charges that he possessed more than 7 ounces of cocaine he intended to distribute. Jimmie D. Smith allegedly hit a law enforcement car with his SUV and assaulted detectives during his arrest on Aug. 28, 2013.
Smith, 41, of Edmund Avenue in Paterson, who was a full-time instructional aide and freshman basketball coach at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson, was indicted by a state grand jury on charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute (1st degree), possession of cocaine with intent to distribute within 500 feet of a public housing facility, namely the Riverside Terrace Housing Development (2nd degree), possession of cocaine (3rd degree), two counts of aggravated assault (2nd degree), and two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer (3rd degree).
Smith was arrested last August by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, who developed information through an investigation that Smith allegedly was dealing large quantities of cocaine in Paterson. They allegedly found over 7 ounces of powder cocaine in Smith’s vehicle following his arrest. Passaic County officers assigned as members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force in Newark assisted in the arrest.
“The allegations in this indictment reveal Smith as a violent man who was dealing drugs on a large scale – in other words, absolutely the last person you would want teaching and coaching students at a high school,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “We exposed his dangerous double life through our investigation.”
“The first- and second-degree narcotics and assault charges in this indictment mean that Smith faces serious prison time,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Our detectives have secured strong evidence against Smith, and we will prosecute the case vigorously to take him off the street and protect the public.”
The first-degree drug charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a 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 $35,000 fine for the narcotics charge, or a $15,000 fine for the aggravated assault charges.
Detectives approached Smith about 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2013 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 drove at a detective who had exited his vehicle and sped away. As he sped out of the parking lot onto 5th Avenue, Smith 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. One of the detectives suffered a serious injury that required surgery.
Deputy Attorney General Andrew C. Fried presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice. Detectives Louis Renshaw, Kevin Weinkauff, Travis Johnson, Toni Petreski and Miguel Rodriguez conducted the investigation and made the arrest for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. They were assisted by Passaic County Officers Gino Formetin and Johnnie Ramos of the DEA Task Force.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Pedro J. Jimenez Jr. in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Passaic County, where Smith, who is free on bail, will be ordered to appear at a later date for arraignment.
Smith worked in the Paterson School District since 1999 and was an assistant basketball coach at the high school since 2008.