Former homeless advocate admits to running drug market

AP News
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Posted: Feb 02, 2017 1:03 PM
Former homeless advocate admits to running drug market

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — A man whose job once included helping homeless addicts get drug treatment admitted Wednesday to overseeing a drug ring that sold heroin and crack cocaine.

Harold "Hal" Miller was previously a program coordinator at a homeless shelter in Camden partly funded by rock star Jon Bon Jovi.

The 41-year-old Mantua man pleaded guilty to conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute and faces up to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced May 8.

Miller, who was also known as "Killer Clown," admitted that for 15 months he oversaw a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine on a Camden street, overseeing dealers who stood outside rundown homes.

Three other men have also pleaded guilty.

Miller has been in federal custody since his September 2015 arrest and U.S. District Judge Joseph Rodriguez turned down his attempt to be held on house arrest until sentencing.

The case was an example of how complicated life can be in a city that is among the most impoverished and crime-ridden in the country. Miller, a Camden native, was known among homeless people as someone who really wanted to help them.

As an outreach worker for Volunteers of America, he would let journalists reporting on homelessness ride in his van to visit encampments where he would hand out snacks and offer to connect people with services such as shelter space and drug treatment.

Miller left that job in 2014 for Joseph's House, which has received donations — and visits — from Bon Jovi.

Miller does have a criminal past. In 1996, as a teenager, he was sentenced to four years in prison for selling drugs. He later did time for a weapons conviction and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after being accused of assault.