Category: Fort Dix

Man Sentenced To 3.5+ Years In Prison In Scheme Using Drones To Smuggle Contraband Into Federal Prison at Fort Dix

September 14, 2021

FORT DIX, NJ (BURLINGTON)–A Hudson County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 43 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to use drones to smuggle contraband, including cell phones and tobacco, into the federal correctional facility at Fort Dix, and for possessing with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Jason Arteaga-Loayza, aka “Juice,” 30, of Jersey City, New Jersey, a former inmate at Fort Dix, previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and one count of possession of heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute. Arteaga-Loayza, who was on federal supervised release at the time of the offenses, also pleaded guilty to violating his supervised release. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentence today by videoconference.

Three other men, Adrian Goolcharran, aka “Adrian Ahoda,” aka “Adrian Ajoda,” aka “Adrian Ajodha,” Nicolo Denichilo, and Johansel Moronta also have been charged with using drones to smuggle contraband into Fort Dix prison.

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

Arteaga-Loayza, an inmate at Fort Dix from June 2017 to September 2018, participated in multiple drone deliveries of contraband into Fort Dix after his release from prison. Between October 2018 and June 2019, Arteaga-Loayza arranged for Goolcharran, with Denichilo’s assistance, to fly drones over Fort Dix and drop packages of contraband into the prison, where it was sold to inmates for a profit. The packages that Arteaga-Loayza smuggled in included cell phones, cell phone accessories, tobacco, weight-loss supplements, eyeglasses, and various other items. Arteaga-Loayza, with Moronta’s assistance inside of the prison, took inmate requests for specific items of contraband and oversaw the collection of payments. Arteaga-Loayza also collected contraband for upcoming drone drops and stored it at his residence in Jersey City.

Arteaga-Loayza and his conspirators took various steps to prevent BOP officials from detecting and intercepting the contraband. They planned drone drops during the late evening hours or at night, when the drones were less likely to be seen. They flew the drones from concealed positions in the woods surrounding the prison. The lights on the drones were covered with tape to make it more difficult for prison officials to spot them.

Arteaga-Loayza and his conspirators used cell phones, including contraband phones concealed within the prison, to coordinate the drone drops. A contraband cell phone used by Moronta, who was an inmate at Fort Dix, contained text messages with Arteaga-Loayza about the collection of profits from the sale of the contraband inside of the prison. In one exchange, for instance, Moronta messaged Arteaga-Loayza about an inmate, “Ok so I am tell him 10 phones and 100 baco (tobacco) he has to pay 10 bands and 500 on each phone?” Arteaga-Loayza responded, “And well even give him an ounce of weed tell him.” One of Arteaga-Loayza’s cell phones contained messages between him and Goolcharran coordinating drone drops. For example, in April 2019, Arteaga-Loayza sent Goolcharran marked-up aerial photos of Fort Dix to show Goolcharran where to drop the contraband. In another exchange, Arteaga-Loayza sent Goolcharran a message asking, “U think that u cud do something 2m.” Goolcharran replied, “2m too windy 20mph.”

During a search of Arteaga-Loayza’s residence in June 2019, agents found packages of empty cell phone boxes, including a package with empty cell phone boxes that had been shipped to Arteaga-Loayza the day before a drone drop on Oct. 30, 2018, cell phone chargers, empty boxes of SIM cards, and several cell phones. They also found bags of Bugler tobacco, consistent with the Bugler tobacco recovered in earlier drone drops. Arteaga-Loayza also had a suitcase in his bedroom that contained his driver’s license, 20 packets of Suboxone Sublingual Film, a prescription opiate, and a plastic bag containing over 21 grams of a substance containing heroin and fentanyl. Following the search of his home, Arteaga-Loayza moved from his home and did not inform his probation officer of his whereabouts.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wigenton also sentenced Arteaga-Loayza to three years of supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited agents of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Cyber Investigations Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Keith A. Bonanno; the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 307, under the direction of Commander Nicholas Kaplan; and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Christopher Scharf, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

She also thanked Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel at Fort Dix, under the direction of Warden Lamine N’Diaye; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Mahoney; officers with the Pemberton Borough Police Department, under the direction of Chief Edward Hunter; officers of the Pemberton Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief David King; and officers of the Chesterfield Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Kyle Wilson, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey J. Manis and Cari Fais of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaints issued against the remaining defendants are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

21-405

Defense counsel: Joel Silberman Esq., Jersey City


Operation Allies Welcome and Task Force Liberty Update

September 5, 2021

WRIGHTSTOWN, NJ – JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST –Operation Allies Refuge has turned into Operation Allies Welcome. As part of Task Force Liberty Joint Base McGuire-DIX-Lakehurst is taking a part supporting the Department of State and Homeland Security in hosting Afghan guests that have been evacuated from Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghans at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. This initiative provides Afghan personnel essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan.



Afghans play a game of cornhole in Liberty Village on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Sept. 5, 2021. The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghans at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. This initiative provides Afghan personnel essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan. –Construction workers continue to build Liberty Village 3 on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Sept. 5, 2021. Video by Master Sgt. Joseph Vigil


Task Force-Liberty FAQs

Washington Air Guardsmen depart to support “Operation Allies Refuge” at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ

August 31, 2021

CAMP MURRAY, WA–As citizens around the globe watched events unfold in recent weeks in Afghanistan, approximately 50 Airmen from the Washington Air National Guard departed Aug. 28, 2021, to provide essential support to vulnerable Afghans as part of Operation Allies Refuge at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The Department of Defense recently approved a request for assistance from the State Department to provide temporary housing, sustainment, and support inside the United States for vulnerable Afghans at military installations around the country. JBMDL is one of the locations where servicemembers are providing this support.

According to Lt. Col. Lisa Weaver, Air Component Coordination Element for the Washington National Guard, the WNG received urgent requests for OAR volunteers through the Joint Information Exchange Environment, the National Guard Bureau’s web-based, interagency mission coordination and situational awareness system. The request then went out to the units with a short suspense.

Due to Airmen being heavily tasked since March 2020 with Covid operations, civil disturbance missions and wildland firefighting support, just to name a few, the speed and size of the response was unexpected. But in hindsight it all made sense to Weaver.

“We have so many people who have been connected to Afghanistan the last 20 years and want to help in any way they can,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to make a difference in a situation where it really is necessary: working directly with displaced nationals, helping them settle, and keeping them safe.”

The more than 50 Airmen who volunteered belong to all the units of the WA ANG: the Headquarters Washington Air National Guard and 194th Wing at Camp Murray, 141st Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, and Western Air Defense Sector at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The group is a blend of ranks, career fields and part time and full time guardsmen.

With a majority of the WA ANG contingent designated as general augmentees, they will help the JBMDL task force provide housing, medical, logistics, and transportation support. The WA ANG also deployed security forces and transportation Airmen to provide career field-related support.

Senior Airman Sarah Godfrey, a material management specialist with the 194th Logistics Readiness Squadron, is an Airman who has been on back-to-back missions. According to her, she volunteered again because she’s thriving, and also, it goes back to why she joined the WA ANG in the first place.

“The [whole] reason I joined the guard was to assist with any kind of state side mission or mission in general [that] contributes to the community,” she said. “I just want to at least comfort refugees coming in and help in any way I possibly can.”

During an in-processing event for departing Airmen at Camp Murray, Washington on Aug. 27, 2021, the state’s adjutant general, Army Maj. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty, addressed the group and talked about the historic nature of OAR.

“You are about to play a part in what very well could be the last chapter in 20 years of war in Afghanistan. While the previous chapters have all been full of death and destruction, this last chapter could be really really positive,” he said. “You’re going to have an impact on our country for generations. Typically people who come to America have a pretty rough go of things that first generation but their kids and grandkids make major contributions to our country. So the work you are going to do here is going to set the stage for major contributions for generations and not everyone gets to do that.”


Task Force Liberty provides relief for Afghans at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

August 30, 2021

WRIGHTSTOWN, NJ (BURLINGTON)- Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst – The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for up to 50,000 Afghans at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible.

At Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst personnel have set up Liberty Village and in the process of a Liberty Village expansion for temporary housing on the base. All branches of services from around the country have deployed at various bases including MDL in support of Task Force Liberty.


Governor Murphy on Friday signed Executive Order No. 256, establishing the Task Force on Afghan Refugee Assistance to report directly to the Office of the Governor. The task force will be chaired by Adjutant General and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA) Brigadier General Dr. Lisa J. Hou and will serve to coordinate State efforts to appropriately prepare for and respond to the arrival of Afghan refugees and SIV holders in New Jersey.

“As Afghan refugees arrive at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, we must act to ensure that the State is prepared to adequately receive and assist these individuals that courageously assisted our country in the War on Terror,” said Governor Murphy. “Our newly established task force will oversee efforts to welcome refugees and their families to their new lives in the United States and New Jersey. I have full trust and confidence in the Adjutant General to lead this task force in coordinating our response to the ongoing arrival of refugees to our state.”

“The Task Force stands ready to support our mission partners,” said Adjutant General and DMAVA Commissioner Brigadier General Dr. Lisa J. Hou. “We recognize the sacrifice of our Afghan allies and American and NATO service members these past 20 years. We pledge every effort to alleviate the human tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan.”

Adjutant General and DMAVA Commissioner Hou is a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, where she served as a field surgeon and sole medical provider on an Afghanistan National Army base and was responsible for providing routine and advanced emergency medical care in the combat theater for more than 600 coalition soldiers, contractors, and foreign nationals.

In addition to Commissioner of DMAVA, the Task Force will consist of the Chief of Staff to the Governor, the Chief Counsel to the Governor, the Chief Policy Advisor to the Governor, the Executive Director of the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office, and the Commissioners or other heads of the following Executive Branch departments and agencies, or their designees:

  • The Department of Law & Public Safety;
  • The New Jersey State Police;
  • The Department of Health;
  • The Department of Human Services;
  • The Department of Children & Families;
  • The Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness;
  • The Department of State;
  • The Department of Community Affairs;
  • The Department of Transportation; and
  • The Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  

The task force will be responsible for:

  • Developing a mechanism for identifying Afghan refugees who arrive in New Jersey and plan to remain for some period of time;
  • Managing internal efforts among Executive Branch departments and agencies to welcome and provide support to Afghan refugees and SIV holders as they arrive and/or resettle in New Jersey;
  • Coordinating communications with representatives of the federal government, including the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Defense, regarding the relocation of Afghan refugees;
  • Overseeing the provision of vital support and emergency healthcare services for those who need it upon arrival in New Jersey, including COVID-19 testing and vaccination as needed;
  • Creating an intake mechanism for organizations and individuals seeking to provide aid and support to Afghan refugees to contact the Task Force, evaluating and keeping track of such organizations and individuals, and connecting such organizations and individuals with those in need of assistance; and
  • Providing any other necessary supports to ensure the safe entry and relocation to New Jersey of Afghan refugees.

Copy of Executive Order No. 256


The Big Red One and Fort Riley troops deploy in support of Afghan evacuees

The Department of Defense recently approved a request for assistance from the State Department to provide temporary housing, sustainment, and support inside the United States for vulnerable Afghans at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; Fort Bliss, Texas; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; and Fort Lee, Virginia.

Approximately 500service members from the 1stInfantry Division and Fort Riley will provide support to Fort McCoy, Fort Lee, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to assist in these efforts as part of the task force located there. The soldiers from Fort Riley will be joining service members from Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Carson, Colorado; and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri as part of III Corps’ overall mission, which was announced earlier this week. U.S. Northern Command is the Department of Defense’s lead combatant command for this mission in the continental United States and is providing oversight in support of the Department of State. U.S. Army North, as U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, is the lead operational command for this mission. The task forcesat Fort McCoy, Fort Lee and JBMDL will provide housing, medical, logistics, and transportation support.

“When our Nation calls, The Big Red One and Fort Riley always answer with action; our troops are highly trained and ready to respond to any mission, anytime and anywhere,” said Lt. Col. Alex Tignor, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley spokesperson. “The Big Red One, military police, medical professionals, and logistics soldiers—men and women—deploying to these temporary housing sites are proud to join task forces U.S. Army North, U.S. Northern Command and the Department of Defense teams at Fort McCoy, Fort Lee and JBMDL in supporting the State Department with this mission.”


The Department of Defense authorized Fort Lee, Va.; Fort McCoy, Wis.; Fort Bliss, Texas; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.; Fort Pickett, Va.; and Holloman AFB, N.M. to provide temporary housing and support for vulnerable Afghans in support of Operation Allies Refuge.

The New York Air National Guard is sending 117 Airmen to assist in this mission at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

The 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh is sending 45 Airman.

The 106th Rescue Wing at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach is sending 33 Airmen.

The 107th Attack Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is sending 13 Airmen.

The 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia is contributing 13 Airman.

And the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse is sending 13 Airmen.













Joint Base McGuire-DIX-Lakehurst Takes Part In “Operation Allies Refuge”

August 24, 2021

WRIGHTSTOWN, NJ (BURLINGTON)– Joint Base McGuire-DIX-Lakehurst, is taking part in the Department of State-led “Operation Allies Refuge” Service members are providing support in Kabul, Afghanistan and also back home getting ready to support the arrival of vulnerable Afghans.

In photos released today by the U.S. Airforce, the 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-DIX-Lakehurst who is responsible for delivering Rapid Global Mobility to the U.S. and its allies throughout the world is providing opperations support with the C-17 Globemaster fleet in Kabul, Afghanistan.

At the Joint Base service members are working around-the-clock to prepare as the base is set to receive vulnerable Afghans in the coming days. The Department of Defense, in support of the Department of State, is providing transportation and temporary housing in support of Operation Allies Refuge. This initiative follows through on America’s commitment to Afghan citizens who have helped the United States, and provides them essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan.





Joint Base MDL Will Provide Temporary Housing, Sustainment And Support For Specified Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Applicants

August 23, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–According to the U.S. Northern Command in a Tweet earlier today they stated that Joint Base MDL-McGuire, Dix and Lakehurst at the request of the U.S. State Department will be providing temporary housing, sustainment, and support for specified Afghan special immigrant visa applicants and their families, and other vulnerable Afghans. The base will provide housing, medical, logistics, and transportation support.

Governor Phil Murphy shared the tweet this morning and also sent a letter to President Joe Biden yesterday to welcome the Afghans to New Jersey.

“We will welcome Afghan refugees with open arms here in New Jersey at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Our state has always served as a s​​hining beacon of hope to the world, and we will do everything in our power to help these refugees rebuild their lives.” — Governor Phil Murphy



This morning’s Tweet from U.S. Northern Command:

The @DeptofDefense recently approved a request for assistance from @StateDept to provide temporary housing, sustainment, and support inside the U.S for specified Afghan special immigrant visa applicants and their families, and other vulnerable Afghans, @jointbasemdl, N.J.


U.S. Northern Command@USNorthernCmd·The task force at @jointbasemdl, N.J. will provide the housing, medical, logistics, and transportation support. #OperationAlliesRefuge





Update: Colonial Pipeline Back Online

May 13, 2021 –Updated again at 4:40 p.m.

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–As we reported Saturday on the Colonial Pipeline that runs though New Jersey and supplies gasoline, diesel fuel and aircraft fuel to the eastern part of the country has announced that the entire pipeline should be operational by noon today. There is no need to hoard gasoline or other fuel and disrupt the local supply chain as seen and reported in other parts of the country.

Locally the pipeline runs though Burlington, Mercer County, Middlesex County on its way to Linden, New Jersey and was shut down to a ransomware cyber attack.

System Restart and Operational Update #2
Update: Thursday, May 13, 4:40 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline has continued to make substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system. We can now report that we have restarted our entire pipeline system and that product delivery has commenced to all markets we serve.

Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during this start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal.

This would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the many Colonial team members across the pipeline who worked safely and tirelessly through the night to get our lines up and running. We are grateful for their dedicated service and professionalism during these extraordinary times.

See update below from the Colonial Pipeline:

Update: Thursday, May 13, 9 a.m.

Colonial Pipeline has made substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system and can report that product delivery has commenced in a majority of the markets we service. By mid-day today, we project that each market we service will be receiving product from our system. The green segments on this map are operational, meaning product delivery has commenced. Blue lines will be operational later today.

This would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the many Colonial team members across the pipeline who worked safely and tirelessly safely through the night to get our lines up and running. We are grateful for their dedicated service and professionalism during these extraordinary times.


Colonial Pipeline Company, founded in 1962, connects refineries – primarily located in the Gulf Coast – with customers and markets throughout the Southern and Eastern United States through a pipeline system that spans more than 5,500 miles. The company delivers refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, home heating oil, and fuel for the U.S. Military. Colonial is committed to safety and environmental stewardship across its operations.

Colonial Pipeline is the largest refined products pipeline in the United States, transporting more than 100 million gallons or 2.5 million barrels per day. Colonial transports approximately 45 percent of all fuel consumed on the East Coast, providing refined products to more than 50 million Americans. 

Specifically, Colonial transports various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, jet fuel, and fuels for the U.S. military through a pipeline system. The system is connected refineries in the Gulf Coast and in the Northeast. The majority of the system is underground, with tankage and other facilities at key receipt, storage and delivery points.


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today; Several days to return to normal

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline



Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today; Several days to return to normal

May 12, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MECER)–As reports were coming in of gas stations running out of gas in the south east United States from the hoarding of gasoline and other fuel products the Colonial Pipeline announced the restart of of the pipeline after a ransomware cyber attack. The company states that it may take several days for the delivery supply chain to return to normal. See press releases from Colonial Pipeline below for the latest updates.

Wednesday, May 12, 5:10 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today at approximately 5 p.m. ET. 

Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal.

As we initiate our return to service, our primary focus remains safety. As part of this startup process, Colonial will conduct a comprehensive series of pipeline safety assessments in compliance with all Federal pipeline safety requirements. 

This is the first step in the restart process and would not have been possible without the around-the-clock support of Colonial Pipeline’s dedicated employees who have worked tirelessly to help us achieve this milestone. We would also like to thank the White House for their leadership and collaboration, as well as the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, FBI, PHMSA, FERC and other federal, state and local agencies for their ongoing support.

We will continue to provide updates as restart efforts progress.

###

Tuesday, May 11, 5:15 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline continues to make forward progress in our around-the-clock efforts to return our system to service, with additional laterals operating manually to deliver existing inventories to markets along the pipeline. Markets experiencing supply constraints and/​or not serviced by other fuel delivery systems are being prioritized. We are collaborating with the Department of Energy (DOE) to evaluate market conditions to support this prioritization. 

Since our pipeline system was taken offline, working with our shippers, Colonial has delivered approximately 967,000 barrels (~41 million gallons) to various delivery points along our system. This includes delivery into the following markets: Atlanta, Ga., Belton and Spartanburg, S.C., Charlotte and Greensboro, N.C., Baltimore, Md., and Woodbury and Linden N.J.

Additionally, in preparation for our system restart, we have taken delivery of an additional 2 million barrels (~84 million gallons) from refineries for deployment upon restart. 

Consistent with our safety policies and regulatory requirements, Colonial has increased aerial patrols of our pipeline right of way and deployed more than 50 personnel to walk and drive ~ 5,000 miles of pipeline each day. 

Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint and actions taken by several Governors to lift weight restrictions on tanker trucks should help alleviate local supply disruptions. This is in addition to the Reid Vapor Pressure wavier issued today by the U.S. EPA that will also help alleviate supply constraints in several states serviced by our system. We would like to thank the White House for their leadership and collaboration in resolving this matter as well as the DOE, PHMSA, FERC and other federal agencies for their ongoing support. 

Our primary focus remains the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We will continue to provide updates as restoration efforts progress.


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline


Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages


Move slider to 3:41 for President Joe Biden’s remarks on the Colonial Pipeline.


May 10, 2021

Update — Monday, May 10, 12:25 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline continues to dedicate vast resources to restoring pipeline operations quickly and safely. Segments of our pipeline are being brought back online in a stepwise fashion, in compliance with relevant federal regulations and in close consultation with the Department of Energy, which is leading and coordinating the Federal Government’s response.

Restoring our network to normal operations is a process that requires the diligent remediation of our systems, and this takes time. In response to the cybersecurity attack on our system, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems. To restore service, we must work to ensure that each of these systems can be brought back online safely.

While this situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach. This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week. The Company will provide updates as restoration efforts progress.

We continue to evaluate product inventory in storage tanks at our facilities and others along our system and are working with our shippers to move this product to terminals for local delivery. Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint should help alleviate local supply disruptions and we thank our government partners for their assistance in resolving this matter.

Our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience of the traveling public and the support we have received from the Federal Government and our peers throughout the industry.


The FBI confirms that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks. We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation. 



REGIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION
UNDER 49 CFR § 390.23 

No. 2021-002

ALABAMA, ARKANSAS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DELAWARE, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, KENTUCKY, LOUISIANA, MARYLAND, MISSISSIPPI, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, PENNSYLVANIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, TEXAS, AND VIRGINIA

In accordance with the provisions of 49 CFR § 390.23, the Regional Field Administrators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Eastern, Southern, and Western Service Centers hereby declares that an emergency exists that warrants issuance of a Regional Emergency Declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSRs), except as otherwise restricted in this Emergency Declaration.  Such emergency is in response to the unanticipated shutdown of the Colonial pipeline system due to network issues that affect the supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products throughout the Affected States.  This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products and provides necessary relief.  Affected States and jurisdictions included in this Emergency Declaration (“Affected States”) are:  Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the Affected States in direct support of relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations except as restricted herein.   

This Emergency Declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products into the Affected States during the emergency from shortages due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system.  Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the Affected States, or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.  (49 CFR § 390.23(b)).  Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the Affected States, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399.  When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operation, equals 14 hours.  

All other applicable safety requirements remain in place and will be enforced by the FMCSA.  Specifically, nothing contained in this Emergency Declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), the hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically authorized pursuant to 49 CFR § 390.23. 

Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this declaration until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA. 

In accordance with 49 CFR § 390.23, this declaration is effective immediately and shall remain in effect until the end of the emergency (as defined in 49 CFR § 390.5) or until 11:59 P.M. (ET), June 8, 2021, whichever is earlier.  FMCSA intends to continually review the status of this Emergency Declaration and may take action to modify or terminate the Emergency Declaration sooner if conditions warrant.


Taft Kelly, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Eastern Service Center


Darrell L. Ruban, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Southern Service Center


Scott G. Hernandez, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Western Service Center


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline


Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Update — Sunday, May 9, 2021

On May 7, 2021 Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack and has since determined that the incident involved ransomware. Quickly after learning of the attack, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems, which we are actively in the process of restoring.

Leading, third-party cybersecurity experts were also immediately engaged after discovering the issue and launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident. We have remained in contact with law enforcement and other federal agencies, including the Department of Energy who is leading the Federal Government response. 

Maintaining the operational security of our pipeline, in addition to safely bringing our systems back online, remain our highest priorities. Over the past 48 hours, Colonial Pipeline personnel have taken additional precautionary measures to help further monitor and protect the safety and security of its pipeline.

The Colonial Pipeline operations team is developing a system restart plan. While our mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations.

At this time, our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience and outpouring of support we have received from others throughout the industry. 


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline


Former Inmate Admits Role Using Drones To Smuggle Contraband Into Fort Dix Federal Prison

April 20, 2021

A Hudson County, New Jersey, man today admitted participating in a conspiracy to use drones to smuggle contraband, including cell phones and tobacco, into the federal correctional facility at Fort Dix, and to possessing heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Jason Arteaga-Loayza, aka “Juice,” 30, of Jersey City, New Jersey, a former inmate at Fort Dix, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and one count of possession of heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute. Arteaga-Loayza, who was on federal supervised release at the time of the offenses, also pleaded guilty to violating the terms of his supervised release.

Three other men, Adrian Goolcharran, aka “Adrian Ahoda,” aka “Adrian Ajoda,” aka “Adrian Ajodha;” Nicolo Denichilo; and Johansel Moronta also have been charged with participating in the scheme to use drones to smuggle contraband into Fort Dix prison.

According to the documents filed in this case:

Arteaga-Loayza, an inmate at Fort Dix from June 2017 to September 2018, participated in multiple drone deliveries of contraband into Fort Dix after his release from prison. Between October 2018 and June 2019, Arteaga-Loayza arranged for Goolcharran, with Denichilo’s assistance, to fly drones over Fort Dix and drop packages of contraband into the prison, where it was sold to inmates for a profit. The packages that Arteaga-Loayza smuggled in included cell phones, cell phone accessories, tobacco, weight loss supplements, eyeglasses, and various other items. Arteaga-Loayza, with Moronta’s assistance inside of the prison, took inmate requests for specific items of contraband and oversaw the collection of payments. Arteaga-Loayza also collected contraband for upcoming drone drops and stored it at his residence in Jersey City.

Arteaga-Loayza and his conspirators took various steps to prevent BOP officials from detecting and intercepting the contraband. They planned drone drops during the late evening hours or overnight when the drones were less likely to be seen. Goolcharran, the drone pilot, with Denichilo’s assistance, flew the drones from concealed positions in the woods surrounding the prison. The lights on the drones were covered with tape to make it more difficult for prison officials to spot the drones.

Arteaga-Loayza and his conspirators used cell phones, including contraband phones concealed within the prison, to coordinate the drone drops. A contraband cell phone used by Moronta, who was an inmate at Fort Dix, contained text messages with Arteaga-Loayza about the collection of profits from the sale of the contraband inside of the prison. In one exchange, Moronta messaged Arteaga-Loayza about an inmate, “Ok so I am tell him 10 phones and 100 baco [i.e. tobacco] he has to pay 10 bands and 500 on each phone?” Arteaga-Loayza responded, “And well even give him an ounce of weed tell him.” One of Arteaga-Loayza’s cell phones contained messages between him and Goolcharran coordinating drone drops. For example, in April 2019, Arteaga-Loayza sent Goolcharran marked-up aerial photos of Fort Dix to show Goolcharran where to drop the contraband. In another exchange, Arteaga-Loayza sent Goolcharran a message asking, “U think that u cud do something 2m.” Goolcharran replied, “2m too windy 20mph.”

During a search of Arteaga-Loayza’s residence on June 27, 2019, agents found a kitchen closet containing packages of empty cell phone boxes, including a package with empty cell phone boxes that had been shipped to Arteaga-Loayza the day before a drone drop on Oct. 30, 2018, cell phone chargers, empty boxes of SIM cards, and several cell phones. The kitchen closet also contained a Bugler tobacco box, consistent with the tobacco recovered in earlier drone drops. Arteaga-Loayza also had a suitcase in his bedroom that contained his driver’s license, 20 packets of Suboxone Sublingual Film, a prescription opiate, and a plastic bag containing over 21 grams of a substance containing heroin and fentanyl. Following the search of his home, Arteaga-Loayza moved and did not inform his probation officer of his whereabouts.

Arteaga-Loayza faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy count, and 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the narcotics count. Arteaga-Loayza also faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison for violating the terms of his supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9, 2021.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited agents of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Cyber Investigations Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Keith A. Bonanno; Detachment 307, Office of Special Investigations, Department of the Air Force, under the direction of Special Agent Nick Kaplan; and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Daniel Helzner, with the investigation leading to the charges.

She also thanked Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel at Fort Dix, under the direction of Warden Lamine N’Diaye; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Thomas J. Mahoney; and officers with the Pemberton Borough Police Department, under the direction of Chief Edward Hunter; Pemberton Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief David King; and Chesterfield Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Kyle Wilson, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and Jeffrey J. Manis of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaints issued against the remaining defendants are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Defense counsel: Joel Silberman Esq., Jersey City


Former Inmate Charged In Drone Smuggling Operation At Fort Dix Federal Prison


Read related MidJersey.News story here: Man Arrested In Drone Smuggling Operation At Fort Dix Correctional Facility


October 22, 2020

FORT DIX, NEW HANOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–A Union County, New Jersey, man has been charged with conspiring to use drones to smuggle contraband, including tobacco, cell phone chargers, and a cell phone, into the federal correctional facility at Fort Dix, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Johansel Moronta, 27, of Linden, New Jersey, an inmate at Fort Dix from April 2018 to March 2019, was charged by complaint, unsealed today, with one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband into the prison and to defraud the United States and one count of being a federal inmate possessing and obtaining, and attempting to possess and obtain, contraband. Moronta will be scheduled to appear on a date to be determined by the court.

Three other men, Adrian Goolcharran, a/k/a “Adrian Ahoda” and “Adrian Ajoda,” Nicolo Denichilo, and Jason Arteaga Loayza, a/k/a “Juice,” previously have been charged with participating in the scheme to use drones to smuggle contraband into Fort Dix.

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

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General (DOJ-OIG) obtained evidence that in October 2018, while incarcerated at the federal prison at Fort Dix, Moronta participated, along with Arteaga, a former Fort Dix inmate, Goolcharran, and others, in a scheme to use unmanned aircrafts, or drones, to deliver contraband to inmates. Moronta’s role in the scheme was to coordinate the drone drops with Goolcharran and Arteaga from within the prison, and then retrieve the contraband after the drone, piloted by Goolcharran, had dropped the contraband inside the facility.

On Oct. 30, 2018, at approximately 1:40 a.m., Fort Dix officers observed a drone with fishing line hovering above the rooftop of an inmate housing unit. Officers found Moronta leaving a bathroom in the area where the bag of contraband dropped from the drone had been found, along with bolts that secured an open rooftop hatch used to access the delivery. Officers also found a cell phone that Moronta used to coordinate drone drops with Arteaga and Goolcharran. The phone contained numerous text messages and phone calls exchanged between Moronta, Goolcharran and Arteaga in the days leading up to the drop. On Oct. 27, 2018, Moronta sent a text message to Goolcharran referring to himself as “Joe [expletive] in fort dix on the rooftop.” On Oct. 30, 2018, at 12:07 a.m., Moronta sent a text message to Goolcharran asking “U in the area,” and Goolcharran responded “Yea.,” likely meaning that Goolcharran was near Fort Dix and available to make the drone drop. At 12:36 a.m., Goolcharran messaged Moronta “How we lookin,” and Moronta responded a few minutes later with “It ok.” Moronta also sent messages to Arteaga at 12:57 a.m., stating “Two trip,” likely referring to the number of drone flights planned, and “Same cop from last week,” likely referring to the corrections officer on duty.

Moronta also coordinated other drone drops with Arteaga and Goolcharran. Location data from Goolcharran’s cell phone confirmed that Goolcharran’s cell phone was in the Fort Dix area during the early morning hours of October 24, 2018, and began to depart the area by about 1:54 a.m. that same morning. In addition, evidence obtained from Moronta’s cell phone revealed numerous communications between Moronta, Arteaga, and Goolcharran on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24, 2018, showing the three men coordinating multiple drone drops.

The offenses charged in the complaint carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy count and one year in prison and $100,000 maximum fine for the possessing or obtaining contraband count.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited agents of DOJ-OIG, New York Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Guido Modano; DOJ-OIG’s Cyber Investigations Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Keith Bonanno; the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 307 under the direction of Superintendent Jonathan Jackson; and the U.S. Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Douglas Shoemaker, with the investigation leading to the charges.

He also thanked Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel at Fort Dix, under the direction of Warden David Ortiz; agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; investigating agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Thomas J. Mahoney; and officers with the Pemberton Borough Police Department, under the direction of Chief Edward Hunter; the Pemberton Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Jantas; and Chesterfield Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Kyle Wilson, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and Jeffrey J. Manis of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Man Arrested In Drone Smuggling Operation At Fort Dix Correctional Facility


Read related MidJersey.News story here: Former Inmate Charged In Drone Smuggling Operation At Fort Dix Federal Prison


October 13, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)-NEW HANOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)—A Hudson County, New Jersey, man was arrested for conspiring to use drones to smuggle contraband, including tobacco and cell phone chargers, into the federal correctional facility at Fort Dix, and for possessing with the intent to distribute narcotics, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Jason Arteaga Loayza, a/k/a “Juice,” 29, of Jersey City, New Jersey, was charged by complaint in November 2019 with one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband and to defraud the United States and one count of possessing with the intent to distribute a substance containing heroin and fentanyl. Arteaga was arrested on Oct. 12, 2020, in Vermont by federal marshals, and is scheduled to have his initial appearance on Oct. 14, 2020, before U.S. Magistrate John M. Conroy in Burlington, Vermont, federal court.

According to the documents filed in this case:

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General (DOJ-OIG), obtained evidence that Arteaga, an inmate at Fort Dix from June 2017 to September 2018, participated in multiple drone deliveries of contraband meant for inmates between October 2018 and April 2019.

On Oct. 30, 2018, Fort Dix officers observed a drone with a fishing line hovering above the rooftop of a housing unit. Underneath the hatch to the rooftop, which had the bolts removed, responding officers recovered a bag that contained tobacco, cell phone chargers, and USB charging cables. In the same area officers found a cell phone that was likely used to coordinate the drone drop, which was in frequent communication with Arteaga leading up to the drop. An inmate found near the rooftop hatch had wet knees, consistent with being on the wet rooftop to retrieve the contraband package. Arteaga’s iCloud account contained screenshots of google search results for “fort dix weather” in October 2018 and screenshots of live chats with CC-1 taken days before the drop in which the inmate appeared to be inside of Fort Dix and wearing a prison uniform.

A few days earlier, Jersey City police officers had encountered a man in the common area of Arteaga’s residence with multiple plastic bags containing numerous cell phones. The man told police that he came to the address to meet Juice.

During a search of Arteaga’s residence in June 2019, agents discovered a kitchen closet with packages of empty cell phone boxes, cell phone chargers, empty boxes of SIM cards, and several phones, including a box that had been shipped to Arteaga the day before the drop. The kitchen closet also contained a tobacco box consistent with the tobacco that had been recovered in drone drops. Each of the drone drops that followed the Oct. 30, 2018, drop contained cell phones or cell phone equipment, and one additional drone drop contained tobacco. Arteaga also had a suitcase in his bedroom that contained his driver’s license, 20 packets of Suboxone Sublingual Film, a prescription opiate, and a plastic bag containing over 21 grams of a substance containing heroin and fentanyl.

One of the cell phones obtained during the search of Arteaga’s residence contained communications with a contact saved as “Adogfy,” in which Arteaga and Adogfy likely coordinated drone drops on Fort Dix. For example, the phone showed communications and a call between Arteaga and Adogfy on April 15, 2019; the next morning, a package of contraband with a cord attached to it was found in Fort Dix. The package contained packets of Hydroxycut drink mix, vacuum-sealed bags of tobacco, cellphone batteries, reading glasses, and a cell phone. On April 22, 2019, Adogfy sent Arteaga a photo that appeared to be an aerial shot of Fort Dix. Approximately two minutes later, Arteaga sent back the same photo marked with two yellow lines, and a message: “Behind the buildind [sic] where the yellow is the long yellow line is a fence.” Approximately one minute later, Adogfy sent Arteaga another aerial photo that appeared to be Fort Dix, with orange target marks over several housing units. Arteaga responded with the same photo, marked with a black dot behind a particular housing unit, and a message stating, “Black dot.” Later that week, Arteaga sent Adogfy a message asking, “U think that u cud do something 2m.” Adogfy responded, “2m too windy 20 mph.”

Two other men, Adrian Goolcharran, a/k/a “Adrian Ahoda” and “Adrian Ajoda,” and Nicolo Denichilo, have also been charged with participating in the scheme to use drones to smuggle contraband into Fort Dix. They have been released on bail pending further proceedings.

The offenses charged in the complaint carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy count and 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the narcotics count.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited agents of DOJ-OIG, New Jersey area office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Guido Modano; the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 307, under the direction of Superintendent Jonathan Jackson; and the U.S. Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Douglas Shoemaker, with the investigation leading to the charges.

He also thanked Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel at Fort Dix, under the direction of Warden David Ortiz; agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; investigating agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Thomas J. Mahoney; and officers with the Pemberton Borough Police Department, under the direction of Chief Edward Hunter; the Pemberton Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Jantas; and Chesterfield Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Kyle Wilson, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and Jeffrey Manis of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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