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Former Atlantic City high school basketball star gets 11 years in prison for leading a drug ring

Khalif Toombs, 31, a former basketball player at Atlantic City High School, admitted to managing a drug trafficking ring that trafficked heroin from Paterson into Atlantic City, authorities said.

The U.S. District Courthouse in Camden, in a file photo.
The U.S. District Courthouse in Camden, in a file photo.Read moreAmy Rosenberg / Staff

A former Atlantic City High School basketball star who authorities say led a thriving heroin ring was sentenced Monday to 11 years and three months in federal prison.

Khalif Toombs, 31, of Egg Harbor Township, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler sentenced Toombs to five years of supervised release.

Toombs, a standout high school basketball player who went on to play four seasons as point guard at South Carolina State, was among 22 people arrested as federal authorities dismantled a drug trafficking ring they said he led at the Shore.

Toombs admitted managing and supervising the drug trafficking organization, which operated throughout Atlantic County and obtained heroin from Paterson, N.J., from 2017 to 2019. He said he conspired to traffic between three and 10 kilograms of heroin.

The federal investigation of the drug ring tracked multiple stamps of heroin it distributed, including ones labeled “AK-47,” “Fortnite,” and “Rolex,” and found that they accounted for 48 deaths and 84 nonfatal overdoses in New Jersey, prosecutors said.

Toombs' attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment after the hearing.

Thirteen other members of the drug organization previously pleaded guilty and admitted their roles in the conspiracy and eight other defendants' cases are pending, authorities said.