|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a drug dealer who was shot by a Jersey City police officer in 2010 during an armed confrontation was sentenced to state prison today.
Kwadir Felton, 22, of Jersey City, was sentenced to 16 years in state prison, including six years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez in Hudson County. Felton was convicted at trial on Nov. 14, 2013 of all charges against him related to the armed confrontation with a Jersey City police officer, including second-degree charges of unlawful possession of a gun and possession of a gun for an unlawful purpose. He also was convicted of second-degree conspiracy for his role in a drug ring that sold heroin, PCP and marijuana in the violent Greenville section of Jersey City. The ring included members of the Sex Money Murder set of the Bloods gang.
Felton was indicted in Operation Wetlands, an investigation by the New Jersey State Police, Jersey City Police Department, Division of Criminal Justice, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Thirteen defendants were indicted in the case. Two leaders of the ring, David Gilliens, 32, and Dempsey Collins, 33, both of Jersey City, pleaded guilty to leading a narcotics trafficking network, a first-degree charge. Each was sentenced this year to 20 years in state prison, including 10 years of parole ineligibility for Gilliens, and 12 years of parole ineligibility for Collins.
Felton was charged in connection with an armed confrontation with Sgt. Thomas McVicar of the Jersey City Police Department, which occurred on Jan. 10, 2010, while McVicar was conducting surveillance for Operation Wetlands. McVicar shot and wounded Felton, after Felton crouched down by the officer’s unmarked car, chambered a round in a 9 mm handgun, and pointed the gun at McVicar.
Deputy Attorneys General Brandy Malfitano and Ray Mateo tried the case against Felton for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and took the guilty pleas from Gilliens and Collins.
“This prosecution highlights the danger that members of law enforcement face when we target violent, gang-related drug syndicates,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “We will not let that danger stop us from pursuing these important investigations. We are grateful for the courageous efforts of all of the officers who work with us, and grateful this case ended the way it did.”
“The message here is clear: anyone who threatens a police officer with a gun will face severe consequences,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Felton was a menace to the residents of Jersey City, and to the officers who put their lives on the line each day to protect those residents.”
Previously, the co-defendant who provided Felton with the 9 mm handgun, Rasheed Boney, 23, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty to second-degree charges of conspiracy and possessing or transferring a community gun, and he was sentenced to five years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Paul M. DePascale. Co-defendant Narrell Lytch, 34, of East Orange, pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of PCP with intent to distribute and was sentenced to five years in prison.
As a result of arrests made during the investigation and search warrants that were executed, evidence was seized including approximately 32 ounces of PCP, 35 bricks of heroin, a small amount of marijuana and oxycodone, two handguns, and approximately $32,000 in cash. Detectives arrested all of the defendants named in the indictment on or before Feb. 18, 2010.
The law enforcement partners for Operation Wetlands were part of the Violent Enterprise Source Targeting (V.E.S.T.) program, begun by the DEA to dismantle criminal organizations in New Jersey. Undercover troopers and officers made drug buys and conducted extensive surveillance to discern the scope, membership and hierarchy of this drug trafficking network.
Deputy Attorney General Erin Callahan presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. The investigation was led by Lt. Thomas Ryan and Detective Rebecca Velez of the New Jersey State Police Street Gang North Unit, and Sgt. Steven Trowbridge and Police Officer Anthony Goodman of the Jersey City Police Department. Attorney General Hoffman also credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and the DEA for their valuable assistance. The Hudson County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the arrests.