TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man was convicted of multiple narcotics trafficking offenses, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Damion Helmes, 42, of Cliffwood, New Jersey, was convicted on Oct. 17, 2022, of four counts of an indictment, following a two-week trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court. Helmes was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, one count of possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Helmes was found not guilty of two firearms offenses.
In August 2019, Helmes, and 19 other individuals were charged by complaint with conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and conspiracy to distribute cocaine after an extensive investigation by the FBI’s Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force. On Aug. 25, 2022, a grand jury sitting in Trenton returned a six-count third superseding indictment charging Helmes with conspiracy and substantive cocaine and crack cocaine offenses as well as firearms offenses. Helmes is the last of the 20 defendants charged in the original criminal complaint to be convicted of one or more federal crimes.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
Between April 2019 and August 2019, Helmes, his codefendants, and others engaged in a narcotics conspiracy distributing cocaine and cocaine base for profit that operated primarily in municipalities throughout Monmouth County – including Cliffwood, Keansburg, Matawan, Keyport, Red Bank, Long Branch, Neptune, and Asbury Park, as well as Brick Township in Ocean County. Helmes obtained regular supplies of cocaine from his conspirators, cooked portions of that cocaine into crack cocaine, and redistributed cocaine and crack cocaine for profit to other conspirators, distributors, sub-dealers, and end users throughout Monmouth County.
Helmes faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a potential maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, and a fine of up to $5 million fine on the counts of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and possessing 28 grams or more of cocaine base with the intent to distribute. He also faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison as well as a $1 million fine on the cocaine conspiracy and cocaine distribution counts of conviction.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force (including representatives from the Bradley Beach, Brick, Howell, Toms River, Union Beach and Marlboro police departments, and the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; the Red Bank Police Department, under the direction of Chief Darren McConnell; the Keansburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief Andrew Gogan; the Middletown Police Department, under the direction of Chief Craig Weber; the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago; the Highlands Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Burton; the Holmdel Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Frank Allocco; and the Long Branch Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director William Broughton, with the investigation leading to the guilty verdict.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ian D. Brater and Alexander E. Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.