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Paterson, N.J. Basketball Coach Arrested On Drug Charges

Jimmie Smith, 41, Allegedly Assaulted Detectives During His Arrest

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — An assistant basketball coach at a northern New Jersey high school has been arrested on drug possession charges.

New Jersey’s attorney general said Jimmie D. Smith was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with possessing more than seven ounces of cocaine that he allegedly intended to distribute.

The 41-year-old Paterson resident is an instructional aide and assistant basketball coach for the freshman team at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson.

Smith apparently led a double life. He inspired student athletes by day and by night he was allegedly dealing cocaine off campus.

“He’s professional. That’s my favorite coach,” Robert Rodriguez told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

For student-athletes like Rodriguez the allegations against Smith seem out of character.

“When I was on the streets he’d go out there and try to take me off the streets. He’d say don’t be out on the streets. He was a really great guy. My mentor,” Rodriguez said.

An informant directed police to a parking lot on Wednesday night. A chase ensued and Smith was eventually caught with seven ounces of powder cocaine, according to police.

Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said Smith allegedly struck a law enforcement car with his SUV and assaulted detectives during his arrest.

“It’s fortunate that our detectives uncovered his alleged double life and arrested him because there’s absolutely no room in our schools for criminals,” Hoffman said.

It was not immediately clear if Smith has an attorney.

Hoffman said the arrest stemmed from an investigation into allegations that Smith was dealing cocaine.

He was being held at the Passaic County Jail on $500,000 bail. If convicted Smith could serve 20 years in state prison.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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