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North Carolina Man Sentenced To 40 Years For Role In Long Branch Gun, Drug Scheme

FREEHOLD: A 44-year-old North Carolina man who was convicted in June on 13 counts involving the sale of drugs and weapons as part of a racketeering conspiracy was sentenced to a total of 40 years in a New Jersey state prison, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Leroy "Prince" Taylor, of Winterville, N.C., was sentenced to a total of 40 years in state prison with a 15-year period of parole ineligibility after Monmouth County Superior Court Judge John T. Mullaney, Jr., J.S.C. ordered that the period of incarceration on the counts of racketeering conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute heroin, and the charges related to the unlawful possession and sale of the assault rifles run consecutively.

Judge Mullaney sentenced Taylor 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 June 16, 2015 conviction, which includes: ten years in state prison on the charge of racketeering conspiracy, and 10 years in state prison with a five-year period of parole ineligibility for second degree unlawful possession of an assault rifle by a convicted felon to be served concurrently with the charges related to the unlawful of the assault rifles and large capacity magazines.

The conviction in June followed a three week trial in the courtroom of Judge Mullaney where the details related to how the defendant conspired with Anthony "Nygee" Stevenson and a heroin supplier out of Newark New Jersey to distribute large quantities of heroin in Long Branch. The heroin was distributed out of Christabell's American Soul Food Restaurant, on Springdale Avenue, which was owned and operated by Stevenson.

The weapons offenses stem from when Taylor supplied Stevenson with two semi-automatic assault rifles both equipped with large capacity magazines and ammunition. Stevenson sold the assault firearms to an undercover officer working with the MCPO for $3,000, within an hour of obtaining them from Taylor.

The case was part of an investigation dubbed "Operation Grand Opening" where Taylor and Stevenson's racketeering conspiracy was infiltrated by an undercover investigator, who purchased heroin and guns directly from Stevenson and his associates. 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 was sentenced to a term of 50 years in a New Jersey state prison with a 26-year parole disqualifier on July 29, 2015 by Judge Mullaney as the result of a separate two-month trial.

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

Stevenson is represented by Daniel Jude Maxwell, Esq., of Brielle.

Read more from: Long Branch

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