NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man made his initial appearance today on charges of illegally possessing a handgun and possessing heroin with the intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Antoine Hawkins, 31, of Newark, is charged by complaint with one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin. He made his initial appearance today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk and was detained.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Sept. 16, 2020, law enforcement officers conducted a surveillance operation in connection with a shooting on Aug. 18, 2020. An officer approached Hawkins, who appeared to be the person of interest in the shooting incident. During a conversation between the law enforcement officer and Hawkins, the law enforcement officer observed what appeared to be the imprint of a firearm on Hawkins’s jacket. The law enforcement officer frisked Hawkins and seized a 9mm Springfield Armory XDM pistol, which was loaded with 19 rounds of ammunition.
After Hawkins was arrested for possessing the pistol and the ammunition, law enforcement executed a search warrant inside of Hawkins’s residence, which revealed 626 glassine envelopes containing suspected heroin and three 9mm magazines.
The firearm offense carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000. The narcotics offense carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison, and a fine of $2 million.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito 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 Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose; special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; and special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina, 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 Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.