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Long Branch Restaurant Owner Sentenced To 50 Years

FREEHOLD: A 48-year-old Long Branch restaurant owner who was convicted in May on 91 counts involving the sale of drugs and weapons was sentenced Wednesday to a total of 50 years in a New Jersey state prison, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Anthony "Nygee" Stevenson was sentenced to a total of 50 years in state prison with a 26-year period of parole ineligibility after Monmouth County Superior Court Judge John T. Mullaney, Jr. ordered the 91 counts be merged into eight counts for purpose of sentencing and the periods of incarceration run consecutively.

Judge Mullaney sentenced Stevenson to an extended term of 20 years in state prison with a 10-year period of parole ineligibility on the charge of second degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (heroin) with Intent to Distribute. He also ordered the following counts run consecutive to each of the other counts from the May 15, 2015 conviction, which includes: ten years in state prison with a 5-year prison of parole ineligibility for the conviction on second degree Distribution of Heroin; five years in state prison with a two-and-a-half-year period of parole ineligibility for third degree Distribution of Heroin; ten years in state prison with a 5-year prison of parole ineligibility for the conviction on second degree Conspiracy to Possess a Controlled Dangerous Substance (cocaine) with Intent to Distribute; and an additional five years in state prison with a three-and-a-half-year period of parole ineligibility for third degree Unlawful Sale of an Assault Weapon.

The conviction in May followed a two-month trial in the courtroom of Judge Mullaney where the details related to undercover sales of heroin from Christabell's American Soul Food Restaurant, on Springdale Avenue in Long Branch were revealed to the jury.

The case was part of an investigation dubbed "Operation Grand Opening" where Stevenson sold drugs and guns to undercover investigators, mostly out of a restaurant he was renovating at 530 Springdale Avenue in Long Branch. The Operation was dubbed, "Grand Opening," because surveillance began on the day of the grand opening of the restaurant on May 25, 2011. During the course of the investigation over 9,000 calls were intercepted by detectives from county and local law enforcement agencies culminating with the arrest of over 40 people between August 1- 8, 2011.

Stevenson sold heroin to an undercover officer on 22 occasions (about 1,900 bags total) either directly or through the use of the delivery man at his restaurant, who also delivered heroin. One of the lower level dealers who had been supplied heroin by Stevenson then re-distributed the drugs to another undercover detective. On the day Stevenson was arrested, he and another co-defendant were in possession of 2,500 bags of heroin after meeting with his supplier in Newark. In addition to drugs, Stevenson also sold two assault rifles, both with large capacity magazines, to an undercover detective for $3000.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Paul Alexander.

Stevenson is represented by Maria Noto, Esq., of Matawan.


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