ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 4:25 pm the Robbinsville Township Police Department and Robbinsville Township Fire Department responded to the Foxmoor Shopping Center for a vehicle into the building. Upon arrival it was determined that it was minor damage and there were no injuries. The Robbinsville Township Police Department investigated.
EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Last night at approximately 7:20 pm the Ewing Township Police Department responded to the intersection of Olden Avenue and Prospect Street for a report of a pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle. Officers located a 19-year-old male with head injuries, lying on the ground on Olden Avenue. The vehicle which struck the male did not remain on scene. The male was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center for Treatment.
Due to the seriousness of the crash, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Serious Collision Response Team was notified and assisted with the investigation. The striking vehicle is described as being a black sedan which was last seen traveling on Olden Avenue towards Parkside Avenue. At this time, the male is in stable condition.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Officer David Danley at 609-882-1313 or the confidential tip line at 609-882-7530.
TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–An alleged crime family associate today admitted possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Jason Vella, 39, of Toms River, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
On Sept. 19, 2019, investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutors Office executed a search warrant on Vella’s residence and recovered in excess of 150 grams of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, $2,295 in cash and pieces of jewelry.
The charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2021.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited the members of the FBI’s Organized Crime Task Force under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; and investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel V. Grady O=Malley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Dennis Carletta Esq., Cedar Grove, New Jersey
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Early this afternoon a 2 vehicle t-boned style accident occurred at Perry Street and N. Clinton Avenue. There were no life threating injures reported in the accident. Hawks Towing removed the two vehicles. Trenton Police Department is investigating the crash.
FORT DIX, NEW HANOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–A Union County, New Jersey, man has been charged with conspiring to use drones to smuggle contraband, including tobacco, cell phone chargers, and a cell phone, into the federal correctional facility at Fort Dix, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
Johansel Moronta, 27, of Linden, New Jersey, an inmate at Fort Dix from April 2018 to March 2019, was charged by complaint, unsealed today, with one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband into the prison and to defraud the United States and one count of being a federal inmate possessing and obtaining, and attempting to possess and obtain, contraband. Moronta will be scheduled to appear on a date to be determined by the court.
Three other men, Adrian Goolcharran, a/k/a “Adrian Ahoda” and “Adrian Ajoda,” Nicolo Denichilo, and Jason Arteaga Loayza, a/k/a “Juice,” previously have been charged with participating in the scheme to use drones to smuggle contraband into Fort Dix.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General (DOJ-OIG) obtained evidence that in October 2018, while incarcerated at the federal prison at Fort Dix, Moronta participated, along with Arteaga, a former Fort Dix inmate, Goolcharran, and others, in a scheme to use unmanned aircrafts, or drones, to deliver contraband to inmates. Moronta’s role in the scheme was to coordinate the drone drops with Goolcharran and Arteaga from within the prison, and then retrieve the contraband after the drone, piloted by Goolcharran, had dropped the contraband inside the facility.
On Oct. 30, 2018, at approximately 1:40 a.m., Fort Dix officers observed a drone with fishing line hovering above the rooftop of an inmate housing unit. Officers found Moronta leaving a bathroom in the area where the bag of contraband dropped from the drone had been found, along with bolts that secured an open rooftop hatch used to access the delivery. Officers also found a cell phone that Moronta used to coordinate drone drops with Arteaga and Goolcharran. The phone contained numerous text messages and phone calls exchanged between Moronta, Goolcharran and Arteaga in the days leading up to the drop. On Oct. 27, 2018, Moronta sent a text message to Goolcharran referring to himself as “Joe [expletive] in fort dix on the rooftop.” On Oct. 30, 2018, at 12:07 a.m., Moronta sent a text message to Goolcharran asking “U in the area,” and Goolcharran responded “Yea.,” likely meaning that Goolcharran was near Fort Dix and available to make the drone drop. At 12:36 a.m., Goolcharran messaged Moronta “How we lookin,” and Moronta responded a few minutes later with “It ok.” Moronta also sent messages to Arteaga at 12:57 a.m., stating “Two trip,” likely referring to the number of drone flights planned, and “Same cop from last week,” likely referring to the corrections officer on duty.
Moronta also coordinated other drone drops with Arteaga and Goolcharran. Location data from Goolcharran’s cell phone confirmed that Goolcharran’s cell phone was in the Fort Dix area during the early morning hours of October 24, 2018, and began to depart the area by about 1:54 a.m. that same morning. In addition, evidence obtained from Moronta’s cell phone revealed numerous communications between Moronta, Arteaga, and Goolcharran on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24, 2018, showing the three men coordinating multiple drone drops.
The offenses charged in the complaint carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy count and one year in prison and $100,000 maximum fine for the possessing or obtaining contraband count.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited agents of DOJ-OIG, New York Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Guido Modano; DOJ-OIG’s Cyber Investigations Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Keith Bonanno; the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 307 under the direction of Superintendent Jonathan Jackson; and the U.S. Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Douglas Shoemaker, with the investigation leading to the charges.
He also thanked Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel at Fort Dix, under the direction of Warden David Ortiz; agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; investigating agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Thomas J. Mahoney; and officers with the Pemberton Borough Police Department, under the direction of Chief Edward Hunter; the Pemberton Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Jantas; and Chesterfield Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Kyle Wilson, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and Jeffrey J. Manis of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township Department of Community and Economic Development announces the Township’s CARES Act Grant. The Township has appropriated $400,000 of New Jersey’s CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF Funds) to support this initiative. Earlier this month Hamilton Township was awarded $1,877,299 in aid from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Division of Local Government Services CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund.
The Hamilton CARES Act grant objective is to provide additional aid, of up to $5,000, to the community’s businesses economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program application will be made available online through December 1, 2020. This initiative is in addition to the $90,000 previously allocated for the Hamilton Small Business Assistance Program and an additional $200,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which was approved by Council on Tuesday evening. Together, these programs will total nearly $700,000 in assistance for our local businesses.
“As we all know, COVID-19 continues to both be a health and economic crisis and our small businesses need help to weather the storm,” stated Mayor Jeff Martin. “Each business in Hamilton provides an important piece to our overall economy. Hamilton Township is committed to ensure that our local business community is supported, as they have supported our residents, throughout this difficult time in our history.”
“Our small businesses and our restaurant establishments are the backbone of our local economy,” said Council President Rick Tighe. “Council is happy to support this allocation of funding to our business community in a time of need. We are grateful to Mayor Martin and our state partners for the quick disbursement of this aid.”
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County grand jury returned an indictment this week charging a Lawrence Township police officer with two counts of second-degree official misconduct, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.
Andres Mejia, 42, was charged in September 2020 with unsworn falsification and tampering with records, both disorderly persons offenses, following an internal affairs investigation conducted by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor’s office and the Lawrence Township police discovered the falsification of records during an unrelated criminal investigation in August 2020.
The internal affairs investigation revealed that Mejia submitted an official arrest report to his superior officers at the Lawrence Township Police Department on August 16, knowing that it contained false and misleading information regarding a fictitious witness in an incident that he had responded to in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer.
The two-count indictment, returned on October 20, alleges Mejia failed to investigate a claim of domestic violence assault and made a false statement in a police report.
Mejia has been suspended indefinitely from the police department without pay pending the outcome of his criminal case.
Despite having been indicted, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–MidJersey.News is aware of a few incidences of people getting “unemployment notices” in the mail. We contacted the NJ Governor’s Office and NJ Department of Labor on what actions you can take. They suggest using the link below and/or calling the numbers below to report fraud:
Report a case of suspected fraud via phone or email by visiting:
Out-of-state claims: 888-795-6672 (you must call from a phone with an out-of-state area code)
New Jersey Relay: 7-1-1
Also file a police report for identity theft with your local police department. Take the usual steps to protect your credit though credit bureaus, etc.
Since there is a lot of personal information in the document it would not hurt to take standard identity theft precautions while this is worked out. Once identity theft occurs it is good to contact your local police department since they can file an official report of the incident. The local police are good sources of other information and tips on how to protect your identification.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill to allow housing for employees at facilities that board horses passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee Thursday.
The bill (A2768) would amend the Right to Farm Act to allow housing for equine-related farm employees as long as the newly constructed housing is in a separate area or level from the horses and meets all Uniform Construction Code standards, including fire ratings.
The bill also makes providing this housing an act that falls under Right to Farm protections.
“Farm employees often need more access to the horses they care for,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “They will be able to take better care of these animals if they can live on the same farm.”
Dancer’s bill will require the state agriculture development committee to adopt rules and regulations to implement the bill. The committee would adopt an agricultural management practice that permits the housing of equine-related farm employees in the same building where the horses are boarded either in a separate area or level from the horses.
“Taking care of a horse is one of the most demanding and worthwhile jobs one could do,” said Dancer. “The horse industry is important to New Jersey’s economy, and we must keep this industry thriving.”