The nation’s most gluttonous competitive eaters will gorge for victory Friday at Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl, but one of the competition’s past stars is fighting a very different battle—cocaine charges.
William T. “El Wingador” Simmons was indicted by a Gloucester County grand jury this week on 13 charges stemming from accusations that the five-time Wing Bowl champ had a hefty amount of cocaine on him during a June arrest.
Simmons was indicted on:
- Four counts of third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance,
- One count of first-degree manufacturing, distribution and dispensation of heroin/cocaine, greater than 5 ounces,
- Six counts of second-degree manufacturing, distribution and dispensation of heroin/cocaine, greater than 0.5 ounces but less than 5 ounces, and
- Two counts of third-degree manufacturing, distribution and dispensation of heroin/cocaine, greater than 0.5 ounces
New Jersey State Police reportedly caught Simmons with $8,000 worth of powdered cocaine and more than $4,000 in cash in his 2010 Kia Soul when detectives stopped him on June 15, 2012, in Harrison Township. Simmons’ car, seized after the arrest, was decorated with a vehicle wrap touting his Wing Bowl nickname.
Simmons allegedly had five ounces of pure cocaine in his Kia when state troopers arrested him—enough, according to according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, to make 1,120 “street bags,” which could in turn be sold for anywhere from $10 to $15 dollars per bag. The uncut cocaine was worth $8,000, police said, but the prosecutor’s office pegged the dealing value at up to nearly $17,000.
The arrest came as a shock to many who revered Simmons’ champion wing-eating ways.
El Wingador won five titles at the annual Wing Bowl before retiring. He came back in 2011, falling by a single wing to Jonathan “Super” Squibb, and placed third to Squibb and Takeru Kobayashi in 2012. His victories earned him the first spot in the Wing Bowl’s Hall of Fame.
Post-competitive eating fame, Simmons tried to use his name to raise money for various causes, from breast cancer to autism, his attorney said at a bail hearing in June 2012.
“He used his celebrity not to make himself rich, but actually for local charities,” David S. Bahuriak told a judge then.
But just six months after announcing his second retirement from the Wing Bowl, Simmons was arrested. He was initially held in county jail, but eventually freed on $100,000 bail.
Meanwhile, Simmons’ old foe Squibb is suiting up for this year’s Wing Bowl, and hopes to bring the crown back to the Philadelphia area.
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