HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)—MidJersey.News was made aware of a possible NJ State Police bust of a tractor trailer full of marijuana on the NJ Turnpike near the 6N Woodrow Wilson Service Area in Hamilton Township June 28, 2021. MidJersey.news checked both rest areas and the highway and found nothing, because allegedly the truck was already being towed to NJ State Police Headquarters in West Trenton for processing. Around dark the West Trenton Fire Company was dispatched to provide assistance to the NJ State Police for lighting at NJSP Headquarters. Once the fire company cleared the truck was driven to the Hamilton NJ State Police barracks to unload its contents to a secure site.
MidJersey.News was made aware and noticed that something was awry after returning from the situation that night on Rt. 130 and Broad Street. It was noticed that a tractor trailer with tow trucks and a NJ State Police escort was making a turn at Route 130 and Horizon Drive for Troop C headquarters. Parking across the street in an office complex from Troop C it was observed that a tractor trailer was being unloaded just before midnight on Monday June 28, 2021 and the product was taken inside with a fork lift and secured. We do not know the exact contents of the tractor trailer, but we believe it to me marijuana. By the size and how many pallets were removed from the back of the truck it is believed to be tons of pot, if that is what was in there.
MidJersey.news has reached out to NJ State Police on the afternoon of the 28, and on the afternoon of June 29 NJ State Police replied “We are in the process of working on a press release for this incident. I’ll be sure to send it to you once it is complete.” When reached out again today June 30we received, “It is in the process but unfortunately I do not have a time frame for release.”
MidJersey.News has held the story for over 48 hours to allow NJSP and/or other agencies to complete and wrap up any investigations before making the public aware that something may have occurred.
This is all we know and that something did occur involving the NJ State Police and a tractor trailer full of product. Once MidJersey.News finds the out the complete details the story will be updated an any corrections made.
Investigation follows two workers’ deaths after outbreaks in Howell, Lumberton
June 30, 2021
MOUNT HOLLY, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Following a coronavirus outbreak in March that led to the deaths of two workers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that a Mount Holly-based healthcare provider failed to implement a required coronavirus prevention program at two of its locations.
OSHA determined that Oaks Integrated Care Inc. did not develop and implement timely and effective measures to mitigate the spread of the virus following outbreaks at its Bock Bay group home in Howell and the Pat LeBon Center in Lumberton. The company failed to identify and isolate clients suspected of having the coronavirus who resided in its group homes, and did not adequately inform staff who worked with these clients about the associated risks.
As a result, two workers – one at Bock Bay and the other at the Pat LeBon Center – suffered exposure and eventually died from the coronavirus. The outbreaks also exposed workers at other Oaks Integrated Care group homes, including Turner Lane Group Home, Evergreen Manor Group Home, R.I.S.E., Jerry Gavin House and the Martha’s Boulevard Group Home.
Additionally, OSHA found the company failed to:
Develop and implement a respiratory protection program.
Provide NIOSH-certified respirators to employees who provided care to confirmed coronavirus-positive clients.
Provide workers with fit tests or medical evaluations to ensure effective use of the required respirators.
Provide effective training in the use, cleaning and storage of a respirator.
OSHA cited the company with a serious violation of the respiratory protection standard, and a serious violation of the general duty clause that requires employers to ensure workplaces are free of recognized hazards that may cause death or serious physical harm. Proposed penalties total $27,306.
“Healthcare workers must have increased protections since they face the greatest risks of coronavirus exposure,” said OSHA’s Area Office Director Paula Dixon-Roderick in Marlton, New Jersey. “Employers in the healthcare and long-term care industries have an obligation to ensure effective safeguards and controls are in place to protect employees, patients and others from infection and further spread of the coronavirus.”
Oaks Integrated Care Inc. offers healthcare services in 19 New Jersey counties for adults, children and families with mental illness, addiction or developmental disabilities.
The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
On March 12, OSHA launched a national emphasis program focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. The program also prioritizes employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.
On June 10, OSHA also issued an emergency temporary standard to protect healthcare workers from contracting coronavirus. The ETS is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–MidJersey.news has learned that NJ Task Force One, Urban Search And Rescue Team will be responding to Miami for the building collapse, at Champlain Towers South condo, located at 8777 Collins Ave, Surfside, FL 33154. Final preparations are being made at the Task Force’s Headquarters for the trip.
New Jersey Task Force 1 Deploys to Miami
New Jersey Task Force 1 (NJ-TF1) has been activated as 1 of the 28 teams of the National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Response System and will be deploying tomorrow morning to assist with the rescue and recovery efforts resulting from the Champlain Tower Collapse.
NJ-TF1 is deploying as a Type 1 US&R Team consisting of 70 team members, in 21 technically skilled positions, and 10 ground support personnel. The team will be responding via; two crew carriers, three tractor-trailers, two box trucks, five F-450 crew trucks, two passenger vans, two K-9 units, two utility terrain vehicles, and a fleet service truck. A water rescue component of six boats with trailers and a water support trailer are also being deployed.
NJ-TF1 is deploying to a staging area in Miami, Florida. This will be the team’s eighth deployment as a FEMA US&R Team since 2016. The team has past experience in structural collapse from 9/11, Tropicana Hotel Parking Garage Collapse and the Hackensack Parking Garage Collapse among others.
NJOEM & NJ-TF1 continue to send our thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by this deadly tragedy.
Our hearts go out to the brave first responders who are working around the clock in search of survivors. We’ll see you soon.
JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–On Tuesday June 29, 2021 detectives assigned to the department’s Special Enforcement Unit concluded an investigation into a report of narcotics distribution with the arrest of a male suspect.
At approximately 10:45 pm, detectives conducted a motor vehicle stop on South New Prospect Road with a male who was operating a 2009 Mercedes Benz. During the investigation 100 bags of heroin packaged for sale were recovered and detectives placed Matthew Vandenberg, age 36 of Farmingdale NJ under arrest. Cash in excess of $250.00 was also seized and the vehicle was impounded pending forfeiture proceedings.
Mr. Vandenberg was processed and later lodged in the Ocean County Jail. He was charged with possession of heroin, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, possession of a controlled dangerous substance while operating a motor vehicle and other motor vehicle violations.
Residents wishing to report suspected narcotics activity or suspicious activity are asked to contact police headquarters at 732-928-1111 or though the department’s StopIt app online.
– The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
Charged: Jakeem Q. Thompson AKA “Carti” Resident of Trenton, NJ, Aggravated Assault (2 Counts), Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (2 Counts), and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (2 Counts)
June 30, 2021
WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)—Police said that just prior to 4:00 a.m. on Saturday June 5, 2021 the West Windsor Police Department was contacted by the Trenton Police Department (TPD) and advised that two (2) males were at the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center, each with multiple stab wounds.
Information provided by the victims at the hospital indicated that their injuries were sustained during an altercation that took place at Hyatt Place in West Windsor.
West Windsor Township Police Officer LaForge responded to the hospital to begin the initial investigation.
Victim #1 was determined to have multiple stab wounds to his right oblique/abdomen and incised cuts to the cheek and nose. Victim #2 was determined to have multiple stab wounds (abdomen, back, & forearm).
Upon the arrival at the hospital by WWPD Detective Woodrow, Victim #2 was coming out of surgery and was listed as stable. Further investigation revealed multiple actors had been involved in the initial altercation at a Birthday “After” Party (17th Birthday) at the Hyatt Place.
The (2) victims were stabbed during the altercation and were ultimately transported to the hospital by others.
Detective Woodrow and the WWPD Detective Bureau continued the arduous investigation where Jakeem Q. Thompson AKA “Carti” was found to be the actor who stabbed the (2) Victims. Thompson was arrested in Monmouth County on unrelated charges on 6/24/2021. Thompson was later turned over to the custody of Trenton PD on an NCIC Warrant Hit, and later lodged at the Mercer County Workhouse in connection to this stabbing incident.
The WWPD would like to thank the Trenton PD, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for assistance in this investigation. Both Victims were expected to survive their injuries although Victim #2 sustained the greater of the knifing injuries.
It should be noted that the altercation began inside the Hyatt Place and ended outside. No one connected to the “After’ Party contacted anyone affiliated with the Hyatt Place to report this incident to the staff.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on June 30, 2021, Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus, 49, of Brick Township, was indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in Ocean County on a charge of Murder, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), in connection with the death of Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus, in Brick Township, on May 17, 2020. Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus was also indicted on charges of Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d; and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d.
On May 17, 2020, Brick Township Police were summoned to a residence on Creek Road for a report of an unresponsive female. Upon arrival, Officers found the lifeless body of Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus in an upstairs bedroom of the residence. On May 18, 2020, the Ocean County Medical Examiner performed a post-mortem examination of Ms. Gavilanez-Alectus’ body, and determined the manner of her death to be a homicide. A subsequent investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that both the victim and the defendant resided at the Creek Road address. The investigation further revealed that a cylindrical container used for the purpose of chilling wine was utilized in the commission of the murder. The injuries sustained by Rebecca Gavilanez-Alectus were consistent with the implementation of this item. Further investigation ultimately determined that Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus did, in fact, cause the victim’s death. On May 18, 2020, a warrant for the arrest of Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus was issued. On May 21, 2020, Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus was taken into custody by law enforcement in Houston, Texas. She was extradited back to New Jersey and has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since her return to New Jersey.
Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the diligent efforts of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy, Assistant Prosecutor Ashley Angelo and Assistant Prosecutor Genna Moscato who are handling the case on behalf of the State as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department, Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, New York Police Department, United States Marshals Service, and Houston Police Department for their collective assistance relative to this investigation resulting in today’s indictment.
Saleh and his conspirators deprived the state of New Jersey of more than $594,000 in taxes as a result of this conspiracy.
June 30, 2021
NEWARK, N.J. – A New York man today admitted participating in a scheme to traffic in contraband cigarettes, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Obadah Saleh, 39, of Queens, New York, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to an information charging him with conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Most states, including New Jersey, require a stamp to be placed on packs of cigarettes indicating the appropriate state tax has been paid. From October 2014 to October 2019, Saleh worked with conspirators to buy and sell millions of dollars’ worth of untaxed, contraband cigarettes, which they believed were stolen from large cigarette shipments from cigarette manufacturers. Saleh and his conspirators often made these purchases with large sums of cash. Saleh and his conspirators deprived the state of New Jersey of more than $594,000 in taxes as a result of this conspiracy.
The charge to which Saleh pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Donnelly and Joshua L. Haber of the Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Lance Lazzaro Esq., Brooklyn, New York
Second Solicitation Award Advances State Toward Clean Energy Goals While Creating Thousands of Jobs and Billions in Economic Benefits
June 30, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) today awarded a combined 2,658 MW of offshore wind capacity to EDF/Shell’s Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and Ørsted’s Ocean Wind II, bringing the state’s total planned capacity to over 3,700 MW and moving New Jersey closer to Governor Phil Murphy’s goal of 7,500 MW of offshore wind by 2035 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Today’s award is the nation’s largest combined award to date.
In a unanimous vote, the Board awarded 1,510 MW of capacity to Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and 1,148MW to Ocean Wind II. In addition to strong environmental and fisheries protection plans, each project has committed to investing in New Jersey’s burgeoning offshore wind industry by building new manufacturing facilities at the New Jersey Wind Port, utilizing the foundation manufacturing facility at the Port of Paulsboro, creating tens of thousands of jobs, and injecting billions of dollars in economic benefits into the State.
“Expanding New Jersey’s offshore wind industry is a major component of achieving our goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050, while providing significant opportunities and economic benefits for our state,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “By leveraging a whole-of-government approach and the strengths of our state, this award ensures that our investment in clean energy is also an investment in our communities, and will generate good-paying, union jobs and bring valuable investments to New Jersey. Today’s award, which is the nation’s largest combined award to date, further solidifies New Jersey as an offshore wind supply chain hub and leader in the offshore wind industry in the United States.”
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish New Jersey as the epicenter of a new industry that will provide tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic benefits when we need it most,” said Joseph L. Fiordaliso, NJBPU President. “Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, we have made significant progress toward our goal of 7,500 MW of offshore wind by 2035 and will continue fighting for a clean energy future that benefits all New Jersey residents, improves public health, mitigates climate change, and bolsters our economy with sustainable, good-paying jobs.”
“It is an exciting time for clean energy in New Jersey thanks to Governor Murphy’s leadership,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette. “The responsible development of offshore wind will help New Jersey reduce the worsening effects of climate change while creating family-sustaining green jobs capable of lifting all people and communities across the Garden State.”
“Offshore wind is a central component of Governor Murphy’s efforts to build a stronger, fairer, and greener economy in New Jersey,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Establishing New Jersey as a hub of the rapidly-growing American offshore wind industry will bring billions of dollars of investment into the state and create thousands of family-sustaining jobs for residents throughout the state. The solicitation award announced today is another exciting step forward that will help to cement New Jersey’s leadership in this emerging industry.”
Combined, the two projects are estimated to create 7,000 full and or part time jobs across the development, construction and operational phases of the projects. This yields approximately 56,000 Full Time Equivalent job years, as some jobs will be shorter term and others will last for many years. They will also generate $3.5 billion in economic benefits and power 1.15 million homes with clean energy. As required by the solicitation, the project developers will also contribute $10,000 per MW to fund research initiatives and wildlife and fishery monitoring in the region – totaling $26 million that will be administered by NJBPU and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection through a robust stakeholder process.
Each project includes a commitment to build a nacelle assembly facility at the New Jersey Wind Port. The nacelle houses the components that convert the mechanical energy of the rotating blades into electrical energy, and is the highest value add offshore wind component. Atlantic Shores plans to partner with MHI Vestas for this facility while Ocean Wind will collaborate with GE. Both projects will utilize the foundation manufacturing facility at the Port of Paulsboro. Additional benefits to the region include a green hydrogen pilot facility from Atlantic Shores and a truck electrification pilot project at Port Newark from Ocean Wind.
In an effort to identify the most efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally sensitive ways of bringing offshore energy ashore, NJBPU is also engaged in a first-of-its-kind transmission solicitation managed by regional grid operator PJM Interconnection. The solicitation seeks ready-to-build options for an open access transmission solution that can deliver offshore wind energy to the existing grid.
Developing New Jersey’s offshore wind resources is a core strategy of Governor Murphy’s Energy Master Plan, which identifies the most ambitious and cost-effective ways of reaching 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Since taking office in 2018, the Murphy Administration has led a concerted effort across State government to bolster this transition while focusing on jobs and economic growth. This includes developing the NJ Wind Port in Salem County, establishing a WIND Institute to coordinate workforce development and research and development in offshore wind, and a $250 million investment in the Port of Paulsboro for turbine component manufacturing.
The State’s comprehensive approach to offshore wind development aims to secure the best overall value for ratepayers while protecting the environment and commercial and recreational fishing interests. On track with the Governor’s solicitation schedule, the Board anticipates opening a third offshore wind solicitation for at least 1,200 MW in 2022.
In 2019, New Jersey made history by awarding the largest single offshore wind solicitation in the country to Ørsted’s 1,100 MW Ocean Wind project to be built 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced today that Steve E. Wilson, a retired Lieutenant with nearly thirty years of experience with the Trenton Police Department (TPD), will start effective tomorrow, July 1, 2021, as the Interim Police Director.
“Director Wilson is a highly-decorated TPD veteran that is respected both in our community and the rank and file,” said Mayor Gusciora. “His knowledge of the city and its unique challenges, which he has dealt with throughout his extensive career with the department, gives him the necessary perspective to help us improve accountability, recruitment, and community policing.”
“This is the only job that could pull me out of retirement,” said Director Wilson. “I can’t think of a better way to repay the city for all it has given me than by using my decades of experience to help the TPD better serve our residents. For me, community policing isn’t just having a dedicated outreach unit. It’s about making sure our patrol officers are seen as trusted resources on everything from violent crime to everyday quality-of-life concerns.”
Director Wilson had been with the TPD since 1994 before retiring in April of 2020. Most recently, he served as General Assignment Commander for the Criminal Investigative Bureau, where he managed the Property Crimes Unit, the Special Victims Unit, and the TPD Youth Section, which focuses on missing youths and youth offenders. Before that he was a Commander with the Special Operations and Criminal Investigation Bureaus, where he directed TPD operations in critical hotspots throughout the City.
Throughout his career, Director Wilson instructed officers in case law, body worn camera use, and N.J. Attorney General guidelines, even serving as a Mercer County Police Academy instructor for nearly four years. He also has extensive experience coordinating joint law enforcement operations with the City’s several state and federal partners, including the FBI, DEA, and the N.J. State Police.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Narcotics Strike Force joined forces with Barnegat Township Police Department Crime Reduction Unit and Patrol Division, Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement Team, Stafford Township Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit and K-9 Unit, Ocean Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Lacey Township Police Department Detective Bureau and the Ocean County Sherriff’s Office, to conduct an investigation into the distribution of narcotics in the Ocean County area. The investigation identified a residence in Barnegat as being utilized by Elex Hyman, age 49 and Jaime Steen, age 38, to store and distribute cocaine.
On June 29, 2021, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Barnegat Township Police Department Crime Reduction Unit and the Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement Team established surveillance on the residence in Barnegat. Detectives maintained surveillance on Hyman and Steen as they traveled to an area in Toms River. Detectives observed Hyman meet with another vehicle that was occupied by Jesse Jackson, age 38, of South Toms River and Alicia Walker, age 44, of Union Beach. After the vehicles parted ways, motor vehicle stops were executed on both vehicles and the occupants detained. As a result of the motor vehicle stops, Detectives recovered approximately 63 grams of powder and crack cocaine, 150 wax folds of heroin and 100 Ecstasy tablets. Hyman, Steen, Jackson and Walker were all placed under arrest. Detectives applied for and were granted a search warrant for the residence in Barnegat. As a result of the execution of the search warrant, approximately $14,500 in US currency was seized. Arrested and charged were;
Elex Hyman, age 49, of Barnegat, was charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Distribution of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); and Knowingly Wander to Obtain or Sell a Controlled Dangerous Substance in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.1B. Hyman is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Jaime Steen, age 38, of Barnegat, was charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Distribution of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); and Knowingly Wander to Obtain or Sell a Controlled Dangerous Substance in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.1B. Steen was charged on a Summons and released pending a future court date.
Jessie Jackson, age 38, of South Toms River, was charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); Possession of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); and Knowingly Wander to Obtain or Sell a Controlled Dangerous Substance in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.1B. Jackson is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Alicia Walker, age 44, of Union Beach, was charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); Possession of Ecstasy tablets with the Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3b(3); Possession of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); Possession of Ecstasy tablets in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2a; and Knowingly Wander to Obtain or Sell a Controlled Dangerous Substance in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.1B. Walker is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit, Barnegat Township Police Department Crime Reduction Unit and Patrol Division, Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement Team, Stafford Township Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit and K-9 Unit, Ocean Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Lacey Township Police Department Detective Bureau and the Ocean County Sherriff’s Office, for their collaborative assistance in connection with this investigation.
The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. R.P.C.3.6(b)(6).
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today announced that Andrew Bruck will serve as Acting Attorney General for the remainder of the Governor’s four-year term, following the departure of Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on July 16, 2021. Bruck currently serves as First Assistant Attorney General and has been part of the executive leadership team at the Attorney General’s Office since January 2018.
“I am pleased to announce that Andrew Bruck will step in to serve as Acting Attorney General and continue the office’s mission of fighting for equal justice for everyone who calls our state home,” said Governor Murphy. “Andrew’s wealth of experience will serve him well in this role and his historic appointment reflects our continuing commitment to ensuring that our state government reflects the rich diversity of our people.”
Before joining the Office of the Attorney General, Bruck spent five years at the U.S. Department of Justice. During that time, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, and held several roles in the office of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, including Senior Counsel, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Acting Chief of Staff. Before joining the Department of Justice, Bruck worked as a litigation associate in the New York office of Davis Polk & Wardwell and clerked for Chief Justice Stuart Rabner of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Stanford Law School.
Bruck is a New Jersey native who grew up in Montclair and Mendham. He currently resides in Trenton with his husband Adam and 8-month-old daughter, Libby. Bruck will be the first member of the LGBTQ+ community to serve as Attorney General of New Jersey.
“I thank Governor Murphy for the confidence that he has placed in me, and I am honored by the opportunity to continue the groundbreaking work of Attorney General Grewal,” said First Assistant Attorney General Andrew Bruck. “I share their commitment to protecting public safety, building public trust, and ensuring the rights of all New Jerseyans. I look forward to working with our Department’s 7,700 extraordinary public servants to carry out our vital mission.”
“I am thrilled that Governor Murphy has selected Andrew Bruck to lead the Attorney General’s Office for the remainder of my term,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “Andrew is one of the sharpest legal minds and finest public servants that I have ever met. We entered office together on January 16, 2018, and since that day he has worked tirelessly to stand up for the rights of New Jerseyans, having helped shape some of our office’s most important policies and respond to many of our state’s most complex legal challenges. The people of New Jersey and the dedicated public servants in the Department of Law and Public Safety will be well-served by his leadership.”
“Andrew Bruck has the unique ability to lead by genuinely listening to all sides of issues, crafting bold, principled and practical solutions, and then giving everyone else credit for it,” said former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates. “He is trusted by both the civil rights and law enforcement communities because of his track record for forging much-needed meaningful reforms to our criminal justice system while respecting the difficult and crucial role of law enforcement. He is a public servant in the truest sense of the words, and the people of New Jersey can be confident that he will take his responsibility to represent them to heart.”
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that a man has been charged with attempted murder and bias intimidation for allegedly beating and choking a man he suspected of being gay in North Hudson Park in North Bergen, N.J., on June 22.
José Tobias Carranza Serrano, aka “Kevin Lopez,” 18, of Baltimore, Md., was arrested on June 23. He was charged by complaint with the following offenses:
Attempted Homicide (1st Degree)
Bias Intimidation (1st Degree)
Robbery (1st Degree)
Aggravated Assault (2nd Degree)
Carranza Serrano was charged as the result of an investigation by the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and Division of Criminal Justice, assisted by the North Bergen, Hoboken, and Bayonne Police Departments. Carranza Serrano is being held in the Hudson County Correctional Facility pending a detention hearing.
In the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 22, Carranza Serrano allegedly attacked the victim near the south end of the lake in North Hudson Park. The investigation revealed that the victim was a stranger whom Carranza Serrano had just met. Carranza Serrano allegedly wanted to kill the victim because he suspected the victim was gay. Carranza Serrano allegedly punched and kicked the victim in the face, causing multiple fractures and knocking out several teeth. He also allegedly attempted to strangle the victim. Carranza Serrano allegedly took a smart phone and $8 in cash from the victim. The victim was found unconscious near the path around the lake by a passerby shortly before 5 a.m. on June 22.
“This defendant is charged with attempting to kill a complete stranger because he thought the man was gay,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The victim was beaten and choked so badly that he was unconscious for several hours before a passerby found him and called for help. Whether this type of hate-fueled violence is directed against the LGBTQ+ community or other groups, it is terribly destructive to society and we must push back against it in every way possible. That, of course, includes aggressively investigating and prosecuting those who commit such crimes. I commend the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and other collaborating law enforcement agencies for the investigation that led to this arrest.”
The case is being prosecuted jointly by the Division of Criminal Justice and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Deputy Attorney General Danielle Scarduzio is assigned to prosecute the case for the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Jacqueline Smith, Bureau Chief Erik Daab, and Acting DCJ Director Annmarie Taggart. Detectives Samer Abboud and Brian Christensen are assigned to the case for the DCJ Bias Crimes Unit, under the supervision of Lt. Michael Fallon, Deputy Chief of Detectives Robert Stemmer, and Chief of Detectives Weldon Powell.
Attorney General Grewal thanked the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, under the leadership of Sheriff Frank X. Schillari, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Esther Suarez, and the North Bergen, Hoboken, and Bayonne Police Departments.
The first-degree bias intimidation charge carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison. The attempted murder charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, with parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent of the sentence imposed. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
TABERNACLE, NJ (BURLINGTON))–The New Jersey State Police is seeking the public’s assistance with identifying a man who allegedly stole two trailer ramps from a business on Route 206 in Tabernacle Township, Burlington County. Yesterday at approximately 3:00 p.m., an unidentified man arrived at Rainbow International of Burlington County and inquired about purchasing trailer ramps through the company’s Ring camera. The suspect was then captured on video surveillance entering the property, removing two trailer ramps, and departing the scene on foot carrying the ramps. No vehicles were observed in the surveillance footage. Anyone with information is asked to contact Trooper Tyler Legezdh of Red Lion Station at 609-859-2282. Anonymous tips are welcome.