ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 10:33 p.m. Capital Health Paramedics were dispatched to the north bound ramp to the NJ Turnpike from Exit 7A for a pronouncement. Apparently, the New Jersey State Police found a deceased individual in a car parked on the side of the ramp. NJSP Detectives were seen photographing the scene and investigating. No information was available at the time of this report on the cause of death. This is a developing story once NJSP release information the story will be updated, and any corrections made.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)— Governor Phil Murphy and New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli today announced that the New Jersey Department of Health has identified a case of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) in a traveler to the state. The individual, an adult female, who is a fully vaccinated Georgia resident, had recently traveled to South Africa.
Since testing positive on November 28, the woman has remained in isolation. She experienced moderate symptoms and is now recovering after receiving care in a North Jersey emergency department. The New Jersey Department of Health laboratory performed sequencing on the specimen to confirm it was the Omicron variant.
“The Omicron variant is among us and we need to take steps to stop its spread. It is vital that residents remain as vigilant as possible as we await more information about the variant,” said Governor Murphy. “Vaccinations and mask wearing have proven to be an effective tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and I urge everyone ages 18 and over to receive a booster.”
“With cases increasing and the identification of the Omicron in the state, the fight against COVID-19 is not over,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “We are still learning about the Omicron variant, but we have tools to stop the spread of the virus, most important among them is to get vaccinated and get a booster dose. The public should continue to mask up, get tested if they have symptoms, physically distance, avoid crowded events, stay home when sick and wash hands frequently.”
On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization classified this new variant, B.1.1.529, as a Variant of Concern and named it Omicron. On November 30, 2021, the United States also classified it as a Variant of Concern. The New Jersey Department of Health has been working with other states, local health departments, clinical laboratories, hospitals, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to rapidly identify individuals who may have been infected with the Omicron variant.
Studies show after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus and the ability to prevent infection may decrease over time. Booster doses provide essential additional protection. While more than 70 percent of residents have received their primary vaccine series, only 31 percent of residents eligible have received a booster.
The CDC recommends that all individuals 5 and older should get vaccinated and those 18 and older receive a booster dose.
Residents should visit COVID19.NJ.GOV or call the Vaccine Call Center at 855-568-0545 to find a vaccine or booster appointment.
BARNEGAT, NJ (OCEAN)–Barnegat Chief of Police Keith A. Germain reported that the police department was actively running down rumors to determine if there’s any validity of a reported gun at the school. At the same time, the department had ten K9 teams working Barnegat High School to systematically search for any weapons.
The Chief later reported that the K9 search and video review was complete, and no weapons were found. The original report was that a student saw another student with a duffel bag that appeared to have the barrel of a gun sticking out of it. We are confident after a thorough review of security video that the report was unsubstantiated.
The Chief said that we’ll be working with the school district to debrief and review the response to this incident so that we can identify areas where we can improve our response in the future. Our thanks for the overwhelming K9 support from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Dept, Stockton University PD, Brick PD, and the NJ State Park Police.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on December 3, 2021, Kendrick Coley, 29, of Little Egg Harbor, was sentenced by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., to fourteen years New Jersey State Prison as a result of his previously entered guilty plea to Aggravated Manslaughter in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a(1), relative to the stabbing death of Richard Pone during the evening hours of May 16, 2018 in Little Egg Harbor. This sentence will be subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, meaning that Coley will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility. Coley pled guilty to the charge before Judge Ryan on October 1, 2021.
On May 16, 2018, at approximately 8:15 p.m., Officers from the Little Egg Harbor Police Department responded to a 911 call in reference to a stabbing incident that had taken place at a residence on Maplewood Drive. Upon their arrival, Officers located Mr. Pone in an upstairs bedroom with multiple stab wounds; he was pronounced deceased at the scene at approximately 8:40 p.m. A subsequent investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and Little Egg Harbor Police Department Detective Bureau determined that Coley had stabbed the victim multiple times after the two had engaged in a physical altercation at the residence. Coley was apprehended at the scene and taken into custody without incident. He has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his arrest on May 16, 2018.
Prosecutor Billhimer commends the diligent efforts of Chief Trial Attorney Michael Weatherstone and Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Carr who handled 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, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Little Egg Harbor Police Department Detective Bureau, Little Egg Harbor Police Department, Tuckerton Borough Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation, resulting in Coley’s apprehension, guilty plea, and lengthy state prison sentence.
TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man today admitted distributing cocaine in Monmouth County and conspiring to illegally sell firearms, including multiple handguns and a semi-automatic rifle, in and around Monmouth and Ocean counties, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Enrique Quijada, 24, aka “El Enano 13,” aka “Kike,” of Freehold, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to a superseding information charging him with one count of conspiracy to engage in firearms trafficking, one count of possession of a firearm by an alien unlawfully present in the United States, and one count of distribution of cocaine.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From May 2020 through September 2020, Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria, Waldin Espinosa-Ozoria, Enrique Quijada, Javier Rodriguez-Valpais, and Jacquelyn DeJesus were members of a gun trafficking conspiracy that spanned from Florida to New Jersey. DeJesus allegedly assisted Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria – the alleged leader of the conspiracy – by acting as a “straw purchaser” of firearms in Florida. Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria and DeJesus then transported the firearms from Florida to Monmouth County, where members of the conspiracy, including Quijada, sold the firearms to individuals working at the direction and supervision of the FBI. Rodriguez-Valpais sold a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle to Quijada, who in turn sold the rifle to an individual working at the direction and supervision of the FBI. In addition to gun trafficking, Quijada admitted selling cocaine to an individual working at the direction and supervision of the FBI.
Three other members of the gun trafficking conspiracy – Javier Rodriguez-Valpais, Waldin Espinosa-Ozoria, and Jacquelyn DeJesus – previously have pleaded guilty in connection with this case. The charges against Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria remain pending.
The count of conspiracy to engage in firearms trafficking carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The count of possession of a firearm by an alien unlawfully present in the United States carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The court of distribution of cocaine carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $1 million fine. Quijada’s sentencing is scheduled for April 5, 2022.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. She also thanked the FBI Tampa Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark and Tampa Field Divisions, and the Freehold Borough, New Jersey, police department for their assistance in the investigation.
In July 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice launched five cross-jurisdictional strike forces to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country. Leveraging existing resources, the regional strike forces will better ensure sustained and focused coordination across jurisdictions and help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, through other communities, and into five key market regions: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento Region and Washington, D.C. According to gun trace data, a significant number of firearms recovered in the New York/northern New Jersey area originate from outside the area. The new strike force will help ensure sustained and focused coordination between law enforcement and prosecutors in the New York/northern New Jersey area with their counterparts in those other locations.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian D. Brater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
For the defendant whose charges remain pending, the charges and allegations are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: S. Emile Lisboa IV Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey
TRENTON, N.J. – A Monroe County, Pennsylvania man was sentenced today to 200 months in prison for his role in distributing large quantities of heroin and cocaine in the Bayshore area of Monmouth and Middlesex counties, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.
Guy Jackson, 49, of Effort, Pennsylvania, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Jackson also admitted to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine. Judge Martinotti imposed the sentence today via videoconference.
Today’s sentence follows a coordinated takedown in November 2018 of 15 defendants charged in a federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. To date, 13 defendants have pleaded guilty. Supplier Gregory Gillens was sentenced on Sept. 8, 2020, to 10 years in prison. Co-defendant Daniel McHugh was sentenced to 90 months in prison; co-defendant David Nagy was sentenced to one year and one day in prison; co-defendant Shavar Williams was sentenced to time served, which amounted to approximately 14 months in prison; co-defendant Daryl Jackson was sentenced to five years’ probation with 10 months of home detention; and co-defendant Brian Hall was sentenced to three years’ probation with eight months of home detention. Co-defendants Krystal Cordoba, Daniel Alfano, Tyler Scarangello, Christy Dube, Richard Gethers, and Lashawn Mealing are awaiting sentencing. Defendant Deberal Rogers has been indicted, and charges were dismissed against one defendant.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From May 2017 to November 2018, Jackson and others engaged in a narcotics conspiracy that operated in the Raritan Bayshore region of Middlesex and northern Monmouth counties. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin and cocaine, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that Jackson regularly supplied large quantities of heroin and cocaine for further distribution. Some of the heroin distributed by the conspiracy contained fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Martinotti sentenced Jackson to five years of supervised release. Four vehicles that Jackson used in the course of the drug conspiracy, as well as in excess of $10,000 in cash that Jackson admitted was proceeds of drug trafficking, were previously seized and administratively forfeited.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force (including representatives from the Bradley Beach Police Department, Brick Police Department, Howell Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Toms River Police Department, and Union Beach Police Department) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch, Jr.; special agents of the FBI, Philadelphia Division, Scranton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire; the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan; the Matawan Police Department, under the direction of Chief Thomas J. Falco, Jr.; the Holmdel Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Mioduszewski; the Highlands Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Burton; the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey; the Old Bridge Police Department, under the direction of Chief William A. Volkert; the Keansburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief Wayne Davis; the Hazlet Police Department, under the direction of Chief Ted A. Wittke; and the Aberdeen Police Department, under the direction of Chief Alan Geyer, with the investigation leading to this week’s sentencings.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
The charges and allegations against the remaining defendant are merely accusations, and she is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Lorraine Gauli-Rufo Esq., Verona, New Jersey
WESTAMPTON, NJ (BURLINGTON) – Burlington County Central Communications operations were temporarily shifted to the County’s backup center in Mount Laurel Thursday evening due to an investigation at Central’s primary site in the Burlington County Public Safety Center. The investigation was launched at around 8:30 PM Thursday after Central Communications telecommunicators reported feeling ill. The Communications Center is in the Public Safety Building at 1 Academy Drive, Westampton, NJ 08060.
Carbon monoxide alarms inside the building did not activate and a fire personnel check of the air was also negative, however, as a precaution the building was evacuated and the Burlington County Health Department was notified.
All Central Communications operations, including 911 service and police, fire and emergency medical dispatch, were transferred to the backup center within the Burlington County Engineering and Highway Department building on Briggs Road in Mount Laurel. Central Communications training was occurring at the backup center at the time so the transfer of operations was completely seamless with no loss of service.
The Mount Laurel center is equipped with all radio and computer equipment needed for 911 calls and dispatching. It was created in 2018 while the County renovated the Central Communications Center space in the Public Safety Center and upgraded its equipment. The backup center also functions as a training location and as an auxiliary dispatching location during major incidents.
The Burlington County Health Department and Burlington County Fire Marshal did a complete investigation into the air quality inside the building and found nothing hazardous or abnormal conditions. A second inspection was performed Friday morning and was also negative for hazards. Central Communications telecommunicators were permitted to return into the building for the morning shift and all operations are functioning normally.
A total of 10 Central Communications employees went to an area hospital for precautionary examinations. None were admitted.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 1:10 a.m. the Trenton Fire Department was dispatched to 517 Centre Street for a house fire. Arriving firefighters found fire though the roof on arrival and called for and “all hands” fire around 1:13 a.m. Within 10 minutes a 2nd Alarm was called sending more apparatus to the scene. The fire was reported under control around 2:00 a.m.
The initial dispatch sent Engine 3, 7, 10, Ladder 2, Rescue 1 and South Battalion to the fire. The all hands send Engine 1, Ladder 4, Special Services 1, and North Battalion Chief to the scene. The Second Alarm added Engine 6 and Engine 9 as Engine 8 and Ladder 1 relocated to Fire Headquarters. Signal 22 was called to the scene for support. Mutual aid fire departments responded to cover the city were Ewing, Lawrence, and Hamilton. (note we do not have access to the County or City CAD this is our best guess)
The fire was believed to be in previously burned buildings 513 though 515 Centre Street and burned an occupied building 517 Center Street since the Red Cross was called to temporarily relocate the displaced resident. There was a fire involving buildings multiple times and most recently on July 27, 2021.
The property could not be found on the City’s Blight Reduction Demolition List or auction list located here: