Mount Holly man charged with drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms
A Mount Holly man is looking at anywhere between 10-years and the rest of his life in prison after being charged with allegedly trafficking more than 3-kilograms of methamphetamine as well as illegally possessing unregistered firearms as a previously convicted felon, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced on Monday.
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Nicholas Layton, 41, is scheduled to appear in court Monday as well to face charges by complaint for one count of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more methamphetamine, three counts of unlawful possession of unregistered firearms and one count of possession of firearms by a convicted felon.
The charges follow a lengthy investigation that dates back to December of 2018 when Layton and a co-conspirator drove separate vehicles from Arizona to New Jersey which were both pulled over in Crawford County, Arkansas.
When police conducted the motor vehicle stop investigation, they found four wrapped bundles of suspected narcotics, later confirmed to be approximately three kilograms of methamphetamine in Layton's vehicle.
Police also found receipts in both vehicles which showed that Layton rented both cars.
Both Layton and his conspirator were charged by the State of Arkansas in connection with the methamphetamine and Layton was then released.
Flash forward a few months.
In May and June, Layton is accused of then selling methamphetamine on three separate occasions, according to Attorney Honig, to confidential informants under the surveillance of law enforcement in Pemberton and Mount Holly.
Law enforcement authorities then executed a search warrant at Layton’s residence in Mount Holly on July 17, 2019.
Inside investigators found a black “AR” style, 5.56 x 45mm semi-automatic rifle, having no visible serial number, which law enforcement later determined was a Privately Made Firearm (“PMF”), a 9mm semi-automatic rifle, having no visible serial number, which law enforcement later determined was a PMF, a firearm silencer, having no visible serial number, which law enforcement later determined was a PMF, and eight “M-Class” explosive devices.
Law enforcement also executed a search warrant that day at another residence associated with Layton in Southampton.
At this house, they found a Norcino, SKS type, 762 caliber, semi-automatic rifle (the “Norcino”), bearing serial number 244931DUP, a 12-gauge caliber Browning shotgun (the “Browning”), bearing serial number 13324 S69; and nine “M-Class” explosive devices.
Layton was not found at either location during the execution of the search warrants, that took place on/about August 4, 2019 at a residence in Marlton.
When he was arrested that day, Layton was found in possession of approximately 200 grams of methamphetamine and an additional explosive device.
Attorney Honig said that the conspiracy and the possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine counts are punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and a fine of $10 million; the possession of an unregistered firearm is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000; and the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and fine of $250,000.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle S. Gasparian of the Criminal Division in Trenton.
Defense counsel: Brian P. Reilly, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton.