Hudson County Felon Convicted of Possessing Heroin, Cocaine, and Loaded Firearm

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

NEWARK, N.J. – A Hudson County, New Jersey, man was convicted of possessing a loaded firearm, and possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances on three different occasions, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Clarence Gaffney, 36, of Jersey City, was convicted on Oct. 26, 2022, following a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court on three counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and one count of possession of firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

On Oct. 5, 2019, during a motor vehicle stop, Gaffney possessed heroin and cocaine in his underwear and shoe. On Dec. 26, 2019, after law enforcement officers observed Gaffney selling drugs on MLK Drive and arrested him, heroin and cocaine were recovered from his jacket sleeve. On Feb. 21, 2020, during a motor vehicle stop, a search of Gaffney’s vehicle revealed heroin hidden in a fuse compartment on the driver’s side and a Glock 22 .40 caliber firearm loaded with 11 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition found inside a fuse compartment on the passenger side.

The firearm charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The drug charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the Direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews; the Jersey City Police Department, under the direction Director James Shea;, and Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Esther Suarez, with the investigation leading to the conviction.

This investigation was conducted as part of the Jersey City Violent Crime Initiative (VCI). The VCI was formed in 2018 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Jersey City Police Department, for the sole purpose of combatting violent crime in and around Jersey City.  As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate to strategize and prioritize the prosecution of 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 Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New Jersey Division, the U.S. Marshals, the Jersey City Police Department, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey State Parole, the Hudson County Jail, and the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cassye Cole and Megan Linares of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.