Irvington Man Convicted For His Role In Drug Ring That Shipped Over 500 lbs. Of Marijuana To NJ

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TRENTON – An Irvington man was convicted of participating in a drug ring that shipped more than 500 pounds of marijuana from Arizona to New Jersey, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced. Four other members of the drug ring pleaded guilty on the eve of the trial.

According to Taylor, Roy Winston Harte, 52, of Irvington, was convicted by an Essex County jury of three counts of first-degree distribution of marijuana, two counts of first-degree possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, one count of second-degree conspiracy, and one count of third-degree distribution of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school.

Harte faces up to 20 years in state prison on the first-degree charge, including a period of parole ineligibility equal to one-third to one-half of the sentence.

A June 29, 2010 indictment charged Harte and four co-defendants with conspiring in 2007 to ship about 513 pounds of marijuana via UPS and FedEx from Arizona to a business address in Fairfield, where Harte worked as a production manager. All five defendants were scheduled for trial, but each of the other four pleaded guilty to first-degree distribution of marijuana and third-degree distribution of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school.

The state will recommend the following sentences under their plea agreements:

  • Donald H. Giddings, aka Tyrone Johnson, 46, of Queens Village, N.Y., who also pleaded guilty to bail jumping, faces 18 years in prison, including nine years of parole ineligibility;
  • Sharon Vanessa Phillips, 35, of Maricopa City, Arizona, faces 12 to 15 years in prison, including six years of parole ineligibility;
  • James McKoy, 50, of Brooklyn, N.Y., faces 12 to 15 years in prison, including six years of parole ineligibility; and
  • Gary Leyton Brown, 37, of Fort Myers, Florida, faces 13 years in prison, including 6 ½ years of parole ineligibility.

“As a result of this verdict and the prior guilty pleas, all five members of this drug ring face lengthy prison terms,” said Dow. “Whenever we can disrupt the distribution of major quantities of narcotics and bring those responsible to justice, it is a significant victory for law enforcement. Of course, halting the flow of illicit drugs from the Southwest is particularly critical, and we appreciate the assistance of our investigative partners in Arizona.”

“These drug dealers thought they could escape detection by using major parcel delivery companies to get their marijuana from Arizona to New Jersey, but their scheme was uncovered through the excellent cooperative work of the New Jersey State Police, Arizona Department of Public Safety and New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice,” said Taylor.

“This cooperative investigation spanned the country and involved suspects in four states. The suspects may have thought the distance between them would provide some concealment of their illegal activities,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We sent a message today, if you attempt to bring drugs into New Jersey from anywhere, we will come after you. I thank all our law enforcement partners who assisted in bringing these drug dealers to justice.”

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