An Elizabeth man with a long criminal history has been sentenced to an extended term of 14 years in state prison for conducting sales of cocaine in a public park, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.
Willy Emmanuel Jr., 37, must serve at least seven years of that sentence before the possibility of parole, according to terms set down by state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield Friday afternoon.
In October 2013, Emmanuel was found guilty of all five counts in the indictment filed against him. Following a four-day trial, a Union County jury took about 75 minutes to return the verdicts against Emmanuel, 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, the latter of whom were found to be in possession of numerous packets of cocaine.
Emmanuel had 10 prior felony convictions prior to the July 2012 arrest.