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Press Release

Essex County Convicted Felon Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Involvement in Two Shootings, Possessing Firearm with Extended Magazine, and Possessing Heroin with Intent to Distribute

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 144 months in prison for his involvement in two shootings, as well as illegally possessing a handgun and possessing heroin he intended to distribute, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Antoine Hawkins, 31, of Newark, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden to an indictment charging him with two counts of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Judge Hayden imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Aug. 18, 2020, video surveillance footage depicted Hawkins as he fired a gun on a Newark street, striking a victim, who survived the shooting. Hawkins was also identified as the perpetrator of another shooting in Newark on Aug. 13, 2020, and cartridge casings from the locations of both shootings were a ballistics match.

On Sept. 16, 2020, law enforcement encountered Hawkins and observed what appeared to be a firearm in Hawkins’s jacket. A subsequent search of Hawkins revealed a 9-millimeter pistol, which was loaded in an extended magazine containing 19 rounds of ammunition.

A search warrant executed at Hawkins’s residence revealed, among other items, 626 glassine envelopes containing heroin and three 9-millimeter magazines.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hayden sentenced Hawkins to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II; members of the Newark Department of Public Safety, under the direction of Director Fritz G. Fragé; members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Ortiz; and special agents of Homeland Security Investigations Newark, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker, with the investigation leading to the charges.

This investigation is part of the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) in Newark. The Newark VCI was formed in August 2017 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the City of Newark’s Department of Public Safety for the sole purpose of combatting violent crime in and around the Newark. As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate and pool resources to prosecute violent offenders who endanger the safety of the community. The VCI includes the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals, the Newark Department of Public Safety, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey State Parole Board, New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center, and New Jersey Department of Corrections.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Levin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office National Security Unit in Newark.

Updated May 31, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-209