July 26, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Burlington County, New Jersey, man is expected to make his initial appearance today after being charged with trafficking over three kilograms of methamphetamine and illegally possessing unregistered firearms as a previously convicted felon, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Nicholas Layton, 41, of Mount Holly, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with 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. He is scheduled to appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in Court:
In December 2018, Layton and an unnamed conspirator were driving separate vehicles from Arizona back to New Jersey. Both vehicles were the subject of a motor vehicle stop in Crawford County, Arkansas. Subsequent investigation revealed that the conspirator’s vehicle contained four wrapped bundles of suspected narcotics, later confirmed to be approximately three kilograms of methamphetamine. According to receipts located in both vehicles, Layton rented both cars and the cars traveled together through multiple states before being stopped in Arkansas. Both Layton and his conspirator were charged by the State of Arkansas in connection with the methamphetamine; Layton was released by authorities.
In May and June of 2019, Layton sold methamphetamine on three separate occasions to confidential informants under the surveillance of law enforcement in Pemberton and Mount Holly, New Jersey.
On July 17, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Layton’s residence in Mount Holly where they located:
1) 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”);
2) a 9mm semi-automatic rifle, having no visible serial number, which law enforcement later determined was a PMF;
3) a firearm silencer, having no visible serial number, which law enforcement later determined was a PMF; and
4) eight “M-Class” explosive devices
On July 17, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at another residence associated with Layton in Southampton, New Jersey, where they located:
5) a Norcino, SKS type, 762 caliber, semi-automatic rifle (the “Norcino”), bearing serial number 244931DUP;
6) a 12-gauge caliber Browning shotgun (the “Browning”), bearing serial number 13324 S69; and
7) nine “M-Class” explosive devices
Layton was not found at either location during the execution of the search warrants. On or about Aug. 4, 2019, Layton was found at a residence in Marlton, New Jersey. At the time of his arrest, Layton was found in possession of approximately 200 grams of methamphetamine and an additional explosive device.
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.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Camden Resident Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; the DEA Fort Smith Post of Duty under the supervision of Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley, Arkansas; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Toby C, Taylor, Newark Field Division; the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan; the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina; and officers of the Arkansas State Police, under the direction of Chief William J. Bryant, with the investigation leading to today’s charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle S. Gasparian of the Criminal Division in Trenton
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Brian P. Reilly, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton