Skip to main content
Press Release

Essex County Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Role in Fentanyl Conspiracy, and Unlawful Possession of Firearm and Ammunition

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 60 months in prison for his role in a fentanyl conspiracy, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Jaqua Clayton, aka “Quay,” 23, of Newark, previously pleaded guilty via videoconference before U.S. district Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, and one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. Judge Arleo imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

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

On March 26, 2021, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Clayton’s residence and recovered a loaded .40 caliber Taurus semi-automatic handgun loaded with 10 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, and approximately $51,000 in cash. Clayton admitted that he had agreed with another individual to keep Clayton’s narcotics supply inside of the other individual’s apartment to avoid detection from law enforcement. Law enforcement officers obtained and executed a search warrant for the individual’s apartment in March 2021. The search revealed 2,116 glassine envelopes of fentanyl, as well as five plastic bags of unpackaged fentanyl, the total aggregate weight of which exceeded 400 grams. During the search, Clayton arrived and approached the entrance of the apartment. When he observed law enforcement, he fled from the area. Clayton has a prior felony conviction.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Arleo sentenced Clayton to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

This investigation was part of the Newark Violent Crime Initiative (VCI). 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 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 is composed of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the ATF, the DEA New Jersey Division, 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, Union County Jail, New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center, New Jersey Department of Corrections, the East Orange Police Department, and the Irvington Police Department.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassye Cole of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gangs Unit in Newark.

Updated June 22, 2022

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 22-232