Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Former Eastside Star Arrested

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Former Eastside Star Arrested

Article excerpt

PATERSON – A former star basketball player at Eastside High School was arrested this week in a drug bust that targeted a Paterson street gang called "Icy Hot," police said.

Nhazir Smith, a first-team all-North Jersey guard as a junior in 2016, had enough talent, according to coaches, to play at the small college level. But now he has been charged with 10 different weapon and drug crimes, including possession of a loaded stolen handgun and intent to sell 4,510 packets of heroin, said police.

Smith, 19, was supposed to be one of the leaders of last year's Eastside team that ended its season in controversy over a recruiting scandal involving players from overseas. But Smith never took the court, which his coach at the time, Juan Griles, attributed to family problems.

Police said Smith was arrested on Tuesday night after an investigation targeting the "Icy Hot" gang that operates near the corner of 10th Avenue and East 28th Street, an area that authorities say is popular with out-of-town drug buyers who come to Paterson off Route 20. …

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