Day: December 15, 2021

More Than $1 Million in Heroin Seized by theMercer County Narcotics Task Force

December 15, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri today announced that a three-month investigation into narcotics distribution in the Trenton area has culminated with the arrest of three individuals and the seizure of approximately $1.1 million of heroin.  The total amount of heroin seized was 2,200 bricks (110,000 glassine bags).  This is recognized as the largest pre-packaged heroin seizure in Mercer County history.  Detectives also seized $50,000 in cocaine during the investigation.

On Monday, December 13, 2021, as part of an ongoing investigation, members of the Mercer County Narcotics Task Force were conducting surveillance of Andrew Coates at his residence located on Bellevue Avenue in Trenton.  While conducting surveillance, detectives observed Coates and an individual identified as Carmen Campbell enter a silver Nissan Altima and depart the area.  Officers followed the vehicle directly to an Asian supermarket on St. Vincent Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and park in the lot.  Officers observed Coates exit the Altima, retrieve a weighted bag from the trunk, and enter an unknown vehicle with the bag.  Minutes later, another unknown individual exits another unknown vehicle, retrieves three weighted bags and places them in the trunk of the Altima.  Seconds later, Coates exits the unknown vehicle and re-enters the passenger side of the Altima.  The Nissan Altima departed the area and surveillance officers followed it directly to the area of Parkside and Parkway avenues in Trenton.

Once in the Trenton area, detectives attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop of the Altima.  While officers were exiting their vehicle, Campbell, who was the driver, attempted to flee. While doing so, Campbell struck a civilian vehicle and a Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office vehicle, causing damage to all three vehicles. While continuing to attempt to flee, the Altima ran over the foot of a MCPO detective and struck his side. Detectives were subsequently able to stop the vehicle, and no injuries were sustained by any officers or civilians.  Once the vehicle was stopped, both Coates and Campbell were detained.

MCPO Detective Tom Paglione subsequently utilized his narcotic canine, Indy, to conduct an exterior sniff of the Nissan Altima.  As a result of the canine sniff, Indy alerted to the scent of a narcotic odor on the trunk of the vehicle.  A search warrant was obtained and a search of the vehicle revealed the 2,200 bricks of heroin.  Search warrants were also executed at multiple locations in Trenton.  At Coates’ Bellevue Avenue residence, Indy sniffed out a plastic trunk in the basement and a shopping bag containing clothes buried underneath several bags of clothes in the garage.  A search of both items revealed 250 grams of cocaine in the plastic trunk and an additional 250 grams of cocaine in the shopping bag in the garage.  Officers also located $1,748 in cash, several rounds of various ammunition, and two Sig Sauer gun magazines loaded with 9mm ammunition at the Bellevue Avenue address.  Coates’ mother, Bridgett Coates, was located inside of the residence at the time of the search and was taken into custody on a Homeland Security Investigations warrant for several narcotic offense in California.

Andrew Coates, 37, of Trenton, was charged with numerous first-degree narcotic-related offenses and lodged at the Mercer County Correction Center.  The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain him pending trial.  Campbell, 60, of Trenton, was charged with numerous first-degree narcotic-related offenses, aggravated assault on police and eluding.  She was lodged at the Mercer County Correction Center.  Bridgett Coates, 54, of Trenton, was charged with numerous first-degree narcotic-related offense and lodged at the Mercer County Correction Center.  

According to Prosecutor Onofri, the total street value of the confiscated drugs is $1,150,000.  The heroin is valued at approximately $1.1 million and the cocaine is valued at approximately $50,000.  The investigation initiated with the Mercer County Narcotics Task Force and received support and resources from:

  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • United States Marshals Service
  • United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General
  • New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Mercer County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mercer County Tactical Response Team
  • Hamilton Police Division
  • Trenton Police Department

Despite having been charged, all persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Matawan Man Indicted on 261 Counts of Health Care Claims Fraud

December 15, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson today announced that a Bayonne based Chiropractor was indicted for allegedly submitting hundreds of fraudulent claims to Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield (HBCBS) of New Jersey for health care services that he did not perform.

Charles B. Boas, 73, of Matawan, N.J., was indicted on 261 counts of second-degree health care claims fraud, second-degree theft by deception, two counts of third-degree failure to file tax returns, and two counts of third-degree failure to pay taxes.

The indictment was returned by a grand jury on December 10, 2021.

The grand jury indictment alleges that between December 12, 2016 and March 13, 2018, Boas submitted, or caused to be submitted, 261 fraudulent health care claims to HBCBS for payment or reimbursement for health care services purportedly rendered to patients on various dates. According to the indictment, Boas obtained $75,000 or more from HBCBS by creating the false impression that he provided health care services to certain patients, when in fact the defendant did not.

The indictment further alleges that Boas failed to pay $31,560.78 in income tax for income earned in 2016 and failed to pay $65,525.79 in income tax for income earned in 2017. As a result, the defendant is charged with two counts of third-degree failure to file tax return, and two counts of third-degree failure to pay taxes.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Deputy Attorney General Cameron A. Boyd presented the case to the grand jury for the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor under the supervision of Private Insurance Bureau Chief DAG Cheryl Maccaroni, Assistant Bureau Chief DAG Crystal Callahan, and Deputy Insurance Fraud Prosecutor AAG Al Garcia. The investigation was conducted with assistance from Detective Janet Thai, Lt. Cortney Lawrence, Lt. Joseph Waters, Sgt. Amy Carson, Dets. Ryan Young, Dawn Ryan, Janelle Tijong, Janet Amberg, and Suzanna Lopez, Civil Investigators Anthony Mihalow and Jordan Thompson, HBCBS Investigators Nicole Sellitto and Ashley Krul, and Special Agent Mike Dolan from the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson noted that many cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the website at State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution, and conviction for insurance fraud.

Special Needs Individuals Served by the Arc Mercer Give Back to Furry Friends

December 15, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Today members of the Arc Mercer donated over 50 toys to the Trenton Animal Shelter during a Meet and Greet event sponsored by Trenton Animals Rock and Trenton Cats Rescue.

Residents of Arc Mercer with developmental disabilities collected over 50 special dog toys from PetSmart to bring joy to the animals who helped them through the pandemic.

“During the worst of the pandemic, many individuals with special needs were not able to see friends or family due to COVID restrictions,” said Steven Cook, Executive Director of Arc Mercer. “Therapy and other trained dogs spent many hours in group homes providing crucial companionship to this vulnerable population. Their company brought us closer to the world again, we couldn’t have gotten through this without our four-legged friends.”

“It’s lonely in the group home sometimes when we can’t go out. I love it when Chico (a Golden Retriever) visits us, he’s always so happy,” said an Arc Mercer Resident (unnamed for privacy). “I can’t wait to give the doggies a gift from Santa so they have a bunch of fun, like we did when they visited us.”

Arc Mercer has provided support and services to over 1,000 individuals with special needs in the Greater Mercer County region and throughout the state for over the last 70 years.

Victim Shot in Face at Hamilton and Hudson, in Trenton

December 15, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 9:15 p.m. last night December 14, 2021 Trenton Police, Trenton EMS, Captial Paramedics and Trenton Fire were detailed to 200 Block of Hamilton Avenue near Hudson Street for a person shot. Radio reports were that EMS called a “Trauma Alert” and the person was shot in face and airway was compromised while en route to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

Trenton Police Sgt. Ponticiello told this morning, that one individual was shot in the face (right cheek) he was listed in critical but stable condition. The victim was able to give a statement.  Two 40 caliber spent shell casings were recovered from the scene.  Trenton Police report the investigation is ongoing.

The area of Hamiton and Hudson is no stranger to shootings and violent crime. Here are some of the other shootings near Hamilton and Hudson, has covered this past year: