CAMDEN City, N.J. – The leader of an Atlantic City drug-trafficking organization was sentenced today to 135 months in prison for conspiring to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced. The former South Carolina State Bulldogs point guard joined 13 other members of the network who’ve taken deals from the government and pleaded guilty – in some instances, testifying or providing information -- rather than go to trial, according to the Daily Voice.
Khalif Toombs, 31, of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey led a Paterson-to-Atlantic-City drug ring that peddled heroin connected to 48 heroin overdose deaths and 84 other ODs. He pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin. Judge Kugler imposed the sentence Nov. 3 in Camden City federal court.
Toombs guilty plea was charged as part of a federal drug investigation that culminated in the arrest of 22 individuals. Thirteen other members of the drug trafficking conspiracy – Wilbert Toombs, Quadir Stanley, Dean Johnson, Khalif Davis, Joseph Aversa, Thomas Randall, Mayda Hernandez, Sarah Taliaferro, James Blackwell, Philip Surace, Nasir Brown, Karon Carey, and David Ramirez – previously pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the conspiracy. Eight other defendants have been indicted for their roles in the conspiracy and their cases remain pending.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:
Toombs and other members of the drug conspiracy trafficked heroin from Paterson, New Jersey, into Atlantic City, New Jersey. Toombs admitted in court to conspiring with others to traffic between three and 10 kilograms of heroin during the period of the investigation and to being a manager and supervisor of the drug trafficking conspiracy, which operated throughout Atlantic County. An investigation led by the FBI used physical and video surveillance, confidential informants, consensual recordings, and two court-authorized wiretaps to uncover the operation. The investigation tracked multiple stamps of heroin being distributed by Toombs and others, including, “AK-47,” “Apple,” “Fortnite,” “Rolex,” “Frank Lucas,” “Bentley,” “Pandora,” and “9 ½.” Between Jan. 1, 2017, and June 21, 2019, these stamps have accounted for 48 deaths and 84 non-fatal overdoses in New Jersey.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Kugler sentenced Toombs to five years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI’s Safe Streets South Jersey Violent Incident and Gang Task Force, Atlantic City Resident Agency, and FBI, Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; officers of the Atlantic City Police Department, under the direction of Chief James Sarkos; the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Damon Tyner; the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Eric Scheffler; and the Pleasantville Police Department, under the direction of Chief Sean Riggin, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the N.J. State Police for their assistance.
This case is being conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Martha K. Nye of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.
For the eight defendants whose charges remain pending, the charges and allegations are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.