NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Mike Mahony, the city’s former Chief Housing Inspector, pleaded guilty to possession “with intent to distribute” less than a half an ounce of cocaine on November 17.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, Mahony agreed to plead guilty to a charge of “third-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.”
Peter Aseltine, a spokesperson for the AG’s Office, confirmed Mahony is scheduled to be sentenced on February 6 before Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci Jr. in Monmouth County. Mahony is facing a fine of up to $75,000 and possible imprisonment of up to five years.
The plea deal comes eleven months after Mahony was arrested near his home in Milltown, driving a city vehicle with what some have said was a much larger quantity of cocaine.
So far, it’s the first and only plea agreement reached in a wide-ranging investigation that resulted in ten arrests and the seizure of 36 weapons, 1.5 kilos of cocaine, 12 ounces of MDMA, two pounds of marijuana, and several other illegal drugs last year.
The investigation, dubbed “Operation: Smoke Screen” by the State Police, rounded up Mahony, as well as a North Brunswick city employee, a Middlesex County Sheriff’s dispatcher, a New Brunswick landlord, and a Cranbury business owner.
A spokesperson for the Attorney’s General’s Office would not comment on whether Mahony will be serving as a witness for the State’s case against any other defendants.
“There have been no other guilty pleas to date, and there has been no indictment yet,” said Peter Asletine, the spokesperson for the Attorney General John Hoffman.
Mahony was arrested shortly before Christmas last year, and spent one night in Middlesex County’s jail before being released on $150,000 bail.
His arrest sent shockwaves through New Brunswick, where he had supervised the city’s staff of inspectors for nearly two decades. After being suspended without pay for more than nine months, Mahony resigned the position on October 3, as we reported.
After Mahony resigned his city job, he nearly lost a paying gig as the Treasurer for the city’s Elks Lodge. But the Elks members complained when Mahony was let go unceremouniously last month, and he was re-instated the next day.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.