Elizabeth Man Convicted of Selling Cocaine in Public Park

An Elizabeth man has been found guilty of all five counts in an indictment alleging he conducted sales of cocaine in a public park last year, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

Following a four-day trial, a Union County jury on Wednesday took about 75 minutes to return the guilty verdicts on five drug-related charges against Willy Emmanuel Jr., 36, who was on parole at the time of his most recent arrest.

On July 25, 2012, an Elizabeth Police Department officer and a detective were conducting surveillance of Jefferson Park when they spotted Emmanuel exit a vehicle and place an item near the base of a tree, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jeremiah Lenihan, who prosecuted the case. Emmanuel then was seen engaging in conversations with two people and returning to the tree to retrieve items and hand them off, Lenihan said.

Responding units arrested Emmanuel and both buyers, who were found to be in possession of numerous packets of cocaine.

Due to a criminal history including eight prior felony convictions, Emmanuel may face an extended term of 10-20 years in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6 before state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.