Day: November 6, 2020

Hightstown Football Shuts Out Cherry Hill East 35-0

November 6, 2020

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Hightstown Rams shut out the Cherry Hill East Cougars 35-0 tonight at home. Photo gallery below:

2 Vehicle Crash On Whitehorse-Hamilton Square Road

November 6, 2020

Photos and story by: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER): One car overturned after a collision with another car on Whitehorse-Hamilton Square Road between Kuser Road and Cypress Lane around 5:52 pm Friday. Hamilton Township Fire Department and EMS responded to the scene as a precaution, but all patients involved refused medical advice. The crash is under investigation. 

Accident on I-195 In Upper Freehold Township This Morning

Also 2 other calls this month Hope Fire Company has responded to below.

November 6, 2020

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–NJ State Police Sgt. Philip Curry told MidJersey.News that a crash occurred at 5:59am on I-195 eastbound Mile Post 8.8 in Upper Freehold Township.  A black Mazda ran off the road and overturned.  The driver was transported to Capital Health with non-life threatening injuries.

Hope Fire Company and Capital Health EMS responded to the scene.

NJ State Police, Hope Fire Company and Capital Health EMS also responded to a car into a tree on Sharon Station Road on November 2, 2020. There was one injury in the accident person was transported to a local area hospital.

The Hope Fire Company of Allentown responded to a electrical shed on fire on the Gamblers Ridge Golf Course during rainy and stormy conditions. The fire was reported on November 1, 2020 at 6:42 pm and was quickly extinguished by Hope Fire Company members.

Dancer Bill Allowing NJ Residents To Bet From Other States Now Law

November 6, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey residents can now place bets on horse races even when they are out of state. 
Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer (A2355) that allows residents to place wagers using New Jersey’s account wagering system while in another state. 
“All New Jersey residents should be allowed to place wagers on horse racing no matter where they are, whether it’s online or through an agency,” stated Dancer (R-Ocean). “With the changes in technology, our access to place wagers has changed and the law should reflect those changes. It’s also critical we do everything we can do to keep our staple industries afloat during and after the coronavirus pandemic.” 
The Assembly voted 73-0 on the bill in June, and last month the state Senate passed it with a 35-0 vote.

Two Trenton Men Arrested for the Murder of Derek Colley

November 6, 2020

Related MidJersey.News story here: Fatal Shooting On Spring Street

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A joint investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Special Investigations Unit concluded this week with the arrest of two Trenton men for the October 5 murder of Derek Colley, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today.

Joseph Kaite, 19, and Tabika Hale, 25, both of Trenton, are each charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and one count of first-degree conspiracy.  Kaite was arrested Wednesday evening in Trenton.  Officers observed him involved in a drug transaction in the area of New York and North Olden avenues and when they attempted to take him into custody, he tried to flee and rammed a police vehicle.  No injuries were reported and Kaite was then taken into custody without further incident.  Hale was arrested Thursday evening in Trenton by the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force.  The prosecutor’s office is filing motions to detain both defendants. 

At approximately 3:40 p.m. on October 5, 2020, the Trenton police received a call for a male shot inside a deli market in the 200 block of Spring Street.  Upon arrival, police found Derek Colley, 26, bleeding from multiple gunshots wounds.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers located numerous .40 and .45 shell casings scattered inside the deli market, primarily in the rear of the store.

MCHTF detectives reviewed video surveillance footage from the area and observed a silver Hyundai Genesis circle the area prior to the shooting and immediately following the shooting of Colley.  Prior to the murder, the silver Hyundai Genesis traveled down Spring Street before it turned left onto White Street. 

Two black males are seen exiting the vehicle, both wearing hoodies over their heads and both appearing to be wearing gloves.  A third male remained in the driver’s seat of the vehicle.  The two males are observed entering the store, both with handguns in their hands, and a store clerk and customer are observed running out of the store toward Prospect Street.  Colley is seen standing in the rear left side of the store and began to walk to the right side.  He looked down the aisle closest to him and observed one of the gunmen walking down the aisle with the gun raised.  Colley started to run down the second aisle, but was unable to due to the second gunmen who began to fire his handgun at Colley.  Colley then ran to the rear of the store where he fell and was shot multiple times.  Both gunmen ran from the store and go into the Hyundai Genesis, which flees the scene.

A lookup of the silver Hyundai Genesis’ registration revealed the vehicle was reported stolen out of Trenton between October 1 and October 2.  Further investigation revealed that Kaite and Hale were the gunmen.

Following Kaite’s arrest, search warrants were executed at his residence on Rossell Avenue and at an apartment on Beakes Street.  During the search of Kaite’s residence, an AR-15 style rifle with an extended magazine, various ammunition, various firearm magazines and heroin were located.  A black Cadillac that was also used in connection with the homicide was recovered and is impounded pending a search warrant.

Prosecutor Onofri thanked the Mercer County Homicide Task Force, his SIU, the Mercer County Tactical Response Team, Trenton Police SWAT and the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance with the investigation and arrests.

The shooting remains under investigation.  Anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406. Information can also be emailed to

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Governor Murphy Announces Appointments to Cannabis Regulatory Commission

Senior Policy Advisor and Associate Counsel Dianna Houenou to Serve as Commission Chair and Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Jeff Brown to Serve as Executive Director

November 6, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Murphy today announced his appointments of Dianna Houenou as Chair of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, and Jeff Brown will serve as Executive Director of the Commission. The Governor will also appoint Krista Nash as a member of the Commission, upon the recommendation of Senate President Steve Sweeney.

“Dianna has been a critical voice for social justice and equity on my team for the past year and a half after spending several years working on the fight to legalize marijuana with the ACLU,” said Governor Murphy. “Her commitment to doing what is right and to leaving no one behind has powered our criminal justice reform agenda, and I am immensely proud that she will be continuing that commitment as Chair of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Since day one, we have said that the legalization of recreational marijuana must prioritize the communities marginalized and decimated by the failed War on Drugs. I know that Dianna is the perfect person to lead our state’s effort to create a marketplace for recreational marijuana that is equitable, fair, and inclusive of all communities.”

“Jeff’s leadership overseeing the state’s Medicinal Marijuana program has contributed greatly to our efforts to expand access to those who need it,” continued Governor Murphy. “He will bring the same integrity, care, and expertise that have led to the success of our Medicinal Marijuana program to his new role as Executive Director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, where he will play a key role in establishing our recreational marijuana marketplace.”

“These are excellent appointments who will help ensure the success and integrity of the new cannabis industry in New Jersey,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “Once we have the commission in place, we can move forward with the legalization process that will deliver social justice reforms and create a new business sector that offers economic opportunities. The commission will have the responsibility of creating the organizational and regulatory system to oversee the safe use of cannabis products by adults. They will play an important role in guiding New Jersey’s leadership role in the reform process.”

“I am incredibly humbled and honored to have been chosen by Governor Murphy for this important position. New Jerseyans have long supported expansions of the medicinal cannabis program and now have raised their voices in support of legalized personal use for adults,” said Dianna Houenou, incoming Chair of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. “Governor Murphy has been steadfast in his commitment to promoting equity and social justice in the cannabis market, and I am especially grateful for the opportunity to put those values to work as  part of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. From promoting inclusion in the permit holders to making affirmative investments in the future of our communities of color, New Jersey is poised to mark its position as a leader in advancing racial and social justice. The opportunities for equity that lay ahead are limitless, and I look forward to seizing them for the benefit of New Jersey’s communities that have been disproportionately harmed by failed past policies.”

“New Jersey voters have said definitively that they are ready to end cannabis prohibition,” said Jeff Brown, incoming Executive Director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. “I am beyond honored to accept this role and to be able play a key role in enacting the will of those voters, and commit to doing so in a way that is safe, equitable, fair, and ensures that our medical cannabis patients always have the access they need.”

“I am humbled and excited to serve on this very important commission,” said Krista Nash, an incoming member of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. “I thank Senate President Sweeney for this opportunity. I look forward to bringing my education and experience as a social worker to the table in order to provide thoughtful input during this process to benefit the residents of New Jersey.”

The Cannabis Regulatory Commission, once fully constituted, will both regulate New Jersey’s medical marijuana marketplace and will now also provide oversight to the soon-to-be-established recreational marijuana marketplace.

Dianna Houenou currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor and Associate Counsel to the Governor, advising on policy issues concerning criminal justice, military and veterans, community affairs, and immigrants’ rights matters. Since joining the Governor’s Office in March 2019, she has been heavily involved in the establishment of New Jersey’s Office of New Americans and advancing the Administration’s criminal justice priorities, including expungement reform and working to advance meaningful civilian oversight of law enforcement. 

Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Dianna was Policy Counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ), where she developed legislative strategies for ACLU-NJ advocacy campaigns and led the organization’s coalitions advocating for marijuana legalization and Newark police reform. Evidence of her work with the ACLU-NJ can be found all across New Jersey: from the establishment of fair and welcoming policies in local towns and State government to the restoration of voting rights for residents on probation and parole, and from the passage of a law requiring the Attorney General to investigate police-involved deaths to New Jersey’s path towards legalizing cannabis for adults with a focus on social justice.

As a cannabis legalization advocate, Dianna crisscrossed the state to educate the public and lawmakers on the importance of legalization. She comes to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission with substantial experience building broad-based coalitions and engagement with like-minded advocates demanding that racial and social justice remain at the forefront of New Jersey’s legalization efforts.

A resident of Trenton, Dianna received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She holds a J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  

Jeff Brown currently serves as Assistant Commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Health, overseeing the Division of Medicinal Marijuana. Under his leadership the Division of Marijuana has expanded access to patients throughout New Jersey, increasing the number of enrolled patients from 17,000 to over 95,000 and more than doubling the number of participating physicians and dispensaries. He has years of experience in health policy, government affairs, communications, and both advocacy and electoral campaigns.  

Prior to working at the Department of Health, Jeff has worked extensively on the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, particularly the creation of health insurance exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid, has led an association of community-based providers to implement innovative new payment models in Medicaid, and has fought to expand access to healthcare in New Jersey’s urban communities by developing sustainable financing policies.    

Jeff grew up in Mercer County and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Rutgers University. He is active in the community and serves on the advisory board of the New Jersey Chapter of the New Leaders Council.  

Krista Nash is a long-time social justice advocate. She currently serves as Program Director of the PROMISE program at Volunteers of America Delaware Valley. She previously served as a mentor at Oaks Integrate Care and Transitions for Youth. Additionally she serves on the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force.

She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University – Camden. She also holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.

Krista and her husband Jeff reside in Cherry Hill with their three children.

“Governor Murphy has made an astute choice by naming Dianna Houenou as chair of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. We are optimistic that Dianna’s leadership and knowledge of the issues will position New Jersey to implement marijuana regulation and reforms with equity and racial justice from the start,” said Amol Sinha, Executive Director of ACLU-NJ. “Dianna’s experience in civil rights advocacy at the ACLU-NJ, policymaking, and implementing executive branch priorities gives her insights into cannabis regulation and the stakeholders at the table. We are confident that she will use that knowledge to help guide New Jersey’s implementation of adult use marijuana legalization. We look forward to collaborating with her to implement cannabis policy that furthers racial equity and social justice throughout our state.”

“Dianna is friend to the Black community and the justice community at large,” said Reverend Dr. Charles F. Boyer, Director of Salvation and Justice and Pastor of the Bethel AME Woodbury Church. “I am encouraged by her appointment as it signals the Governor’s commitment to racial justice regarding cannabis.” 

Man Sentenced to Seven Years in State Prison for Traveling From California to New Jersey in Attempt to Sexually Assault an 11-Year-Old Girl

November 6, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a California man was sentenced to state prison today for traveling to New Jersey in an attempt to sexually assault an underage girl.  He communicated online with a man he believed was offering him an opportunity to sexually assault a girl, age 11, but that man was really an undercover detective of the New Jersey State Police.

Ian Brewer, 25, of Pomona, Calif., was sentenced today to seven years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield in Union County.  He pleaded guilty on Aug. 27, 2020 to an accusation charging him with second-degree attempted aggravated sexual assault.  He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.

Deputy Attorney General Jamie Picard prosecuted Brewer and represented the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau at the sentencing hearing.  Brewer was arrested in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, assisted by the Bayonne Police Department.   

Brewer began exchanging emails in December 2019 with the undercover detective.  The undercover detective said that for a fee, Brewer could sexually assault the 11-year-old daughter of his girlfriend.  The detective represented that he and his girlfriend were part of a group that met regularly to sexually assault the child.  Brewer agreed to pay a fee of $500 for the weekend to have the girl perform oral sex on him.  He was arrested on Jan. 17, 2020 after flying to New Jersey and checking into a hotel room.  He was arrested at a restaurant in Elizabeth, N.J., where he went to meet the man and his girlfriend.  Brewer had $701 cash in his possession, and numerous condoms were found in his hotel room.

“Through these collaborative operations involving the ICAC Task Force, we are working ceaselessly to arrest child predators like Brewer before they can sexually assault young victims,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “At the same time, we urge parents, guardians and teachers to warn children about the threats that exist on social media and gaming sites and watch for signs that a child has been subjected to online abuse.  Online threats to children have increased as much as 50 percent in New Jersey since the start of the COVID pandemic, as gauged by tips to law enforcement, and the need for vigilance has grown this fall as children log more hours of screen time for virtual learning.”

“By working with the ICAC Task Force and partnering with law enforcement at all levels, including U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, we ensure that we have the resources and reach to pursue these multi-jurisdictional cases and capture those who seek to sexually abuse and exploit children,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We want these offenders to know that when they seek out like-minded individuals online, they may instead discover our detectives, with their single-minded goal of protecting children.”

“Gone are the days when child predators were limited to lurking in neighborhoods or playgrounds.  Brewer is an example of how today’s predators are not only using more sophisticated technologies, but are networking with other abusers in order to find their next victim,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “The New Jersey State Police and our partners will continue to evolve our investigative strategies and work together to ensure that child predators and those who assist them are identified, apprehended, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Once again, we confront the tenacious evil of a child predator, in this case one who traveled from California to New Jersey to seek out his innocent prey,” said Jason J. Molina, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Newark. “However, when he arrived at the designated meeting place, he found law enforcement officers there instead who arrested him. This should be a strong lesson to child predators online, that what you think are well crafted schemes to lure in the most vulnerable among us are being undone by the combined forces of law enforcement agencies nationwide. If you’re out there, we will find you and bring you to justice, no matter what it takes. A dangerous predator has been removed from our community thanks to the combined efforts of law enforcement.”

Deputy Attorney General Picard prosecuted the case under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter and Deputy Bureau Chief Lilianne Daniel of the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau.

Attorney General Grewal thanked all of those who investigated and prosecuted the case for the New Jersey State Police, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Bayonne Police Department, and the Division of Criminal Justice.

In addition to investigating cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, members of the New Jersey State Police ICAC Unit, Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, and New Jersey Regional ICAC Task Force routinely conduct undercover chat investigations on social media platforms leading to arrests of hands-on offenders and defendants attempting to lure children.  They also conduct proactive investigations to apprehend offenders by monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and identifying the IP addresses of individuals sharing child sexual abuse materials.

Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone with information about the distribution of child sexual abuse materials on the internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.

Defense Attorney: Howard W. Bailey, Esq., of Newark, N.J.

Colorado Man Admits Securities And Tax Offences Related to $722 Million Fraud Scheme

November 6, 2020

NEWARK, NJ –A Colorado man yesterday admitted his role in a conspiracy to offer and sell unregistered securities and tax evasion in connection with a $722 million cryptocurrency mining scheme, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Jobadiah Sinclair Weeks, 39, of Arvada, Colorado, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to Count Two of an indictment, charging him with conspiracy to offer and sell unregistered securities. Weeks also pleaded guilty to a separate information charging him with tax evasion for the tax years 2015 through 2018.

Weeks and four co-defendants – Matthew Brent Goettsche, Russ Albert Medlin, Catalin Balaci, and Joseph Frank Abel – were charged by indictment in December 2019 in connection with the scheme.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From April 2014 through December 2019, the BitClub Network was a fraudulent scheme that solicited money from investors in exchange for shares of purported cryptocurrency mining pools and rewarded investors for recruiting new investors into the scheme. Weeks operated as a large-scale promoter of the BitClub Network, and sold shares despite knowing that the BitClub Network and its operators did not file a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Weeks admitted taking money from investors in exchange for shares of the BitClub Network’s purported mining pools. He admitted that in order to promote shares, he created and posted videos to the internet and gave presentations and speeches about the BitClub Network throughout the United States and in numerous countries throughout the world. Weeks instructed investors in the United States to use a virtual private network, or “VPN,” to hide their U.S.-based IP addresses and evade detection and regulation by U.S. law enforcement.

Weeks also admitted not filing tax returns and failing to report at least $10 million in income, including cryptocurrency income earned from his association with the BitClub Network, for the tax years 2015 through 2018.

The conspiracy charge to which Weeks pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the pecuniary gain to the defendant or loss to the victims. The tax charge to which Weeks pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $100,000. Sentencing is scheduled for March 17, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents and task force officers of the FBI Los Angeles Division’s West Covina Resident Agency, under the direction of Assistant Director in Charge Kristi K. Johnson; special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark and special agents of the IRS Los Angeles Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner, who conducted this investigation under the initiative of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement; the FBI Criminal Investigative Division, under the supervision of Assistant Director Calvin A. Shivers, and the Financial Crimes Section, under the leadership of Section Chief Steven Merrill; and members of the Ventura Police Department with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim may visit
or the Department of Justice’s large case website Victims can find more information about the case, including a questionnaire for victims to fill out and submit.

The government is represented by Unit Chief David W. Feder, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamie L. Hoxie and Anthony P. Torntore of the Cybercrime Unit, and Unit Chief Sarah Devlin and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Minish of the Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Unit, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.


Defense counsel: Simon A. Gaugush Esq., Tampa, Florida, and Michael L. Yaeger Esq., New York

East Windsor Police Blotter Week Of November 4, 2020

November 6, 2020

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Selected entries from the East Windsor Township Police Blotter for the week of November 4, 2020. All accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a Court of law.

  1. Drugs, Location Hickory Corner Road, October 29, 2020 at 2:00 am. The officer conducted a motor vehicle stop after observing the vehicle fail to maintain its lane. The officer detected the odor of marijuana while speaking with the driver and occupants. The officer conducted a vehicle search and located marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The individuals were arrested and later released pending court action. Defendant #1: Jesse Pimental, 21, Staten Island, NY. Charges: Possession of Marijuana Under 50 Grams, Possession of Paraphernalia, Unlicensed Driver, Failure to Maintain Lane, Improper Backing, Possession of CDS in a Motor Vehicle. Defendant #2: Brian Howley, Staten Island, NY, 19 Years of Age. Charges: Possession of Marijuana Under 50 Grams and Possession of Paraphernalia. Arresting Officer: Patrol Officer Joseph Zucchero
  2. Shoplifting, Location: Walmart (839 Route 130), October 29, 2020, 5:00 pm. The officer responded to Walmart for  a shoplifter  in the custody  of  Loss  Prevention. Investigation revealed that the individual concealed merchandise and attempted to leave the store without paying. The individual was arrested and later released pending court action. Defendant: Tomasz Spyra, 41, Trenton, NJ . Charges: Shoplifting. Arresting Officer: Patrol Officer Thomas Nicola
  3. Drugs, Location: Bennington Drive, November 4, 2020, 11:40 am. The officer conducted a motor vehicle stop on Bennington Drive after observing the vehicle with an expired inspection sticker and nonfunctioning brake light. The officer detected the odor of marijuana while speaking with the driver. The driver voluntarily turned over marijuana to the officer. The individual was arrested and later released pending court action. Defendant: Edgar Argudo-Perez, 23, East Windsor, NJ. Charges: Possession of Marijuana Under 50 Grams, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Failure to Inspect, Maintenance of Lamps, Possession of CDS in a Motor Vehicle. Arresting Officer: Patrol Officer Dylan Barlow

All accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a Court of law.