ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried and Hightstown Borough Mayor Lawrence D. Quattrone are proud to announce a historic shared services agreement to construct a new police station and court on the site of the current Robbinsville Township Municipal Complex at 1117 Route 130.
The new facility will house both the Robbinsville and Hightstown Police Department headquarters and each town’s municipal court. The existing and outdated Robbinsville/Hightstown Municipal Court trailer will be permanently closed and removed from the site.
“Making sure our respective police departments and shared municipal court have the best facilities and every tool possible to perform their duties to the best of their abilities is of paramount importance to both Mayor Quattrone and all of us here in Robbinsville,” Robbinsville Mayor and Director of Public Safety Dave Fried said. “This is a historic agreement between two neighbors which have the utmost respect for each other and their constituents.”
The shared services agreement is for an initial term of 50 years, with a mutual option to extend the agreement for an additional 50 years. Each municipality will pay its share of the costs to construct the facility (approximately $9.8 million) based upon each municipality’s proportional use of the facility’s square footage. The municipalities will share utility costs in the same proportion as the construction costs.
The Robbinsville and Hightstown Police Departments will each occupy their own dedicated space within the new facility and remain separate and distinct departments. Additionally, the Hightstown Police Department will operate a sub-station located in the new municipal complex building at 230 Mercer Street in Hightstown and will continue to maintain the same 24/7 police coverage within the Borough of Hightstown that it currently provides.
“We have shared our court and jail cells with Robbinsville for several years, so expanding the partnership further by sharing a police station is a natural fit,” Hightstown Mayor Quattrone said. “Not only do our hardworking police benefit from the new state-of-the-art facilities, but our residents will continue to receive the same response and dedicated service from the officers they respect and love.”
The Robbinsville and Hightstown Municipal Courts will continue to operate in the new facility under its existing agreement to share facilities, employees, equipment and supplies. This new shared services agreement will not change each municipality’s status as separate and distinct municipal courts.
Ground-breaking for the new police and court facility is scheduled for 2022 and construction is expected to take approximately 12 months.
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Monmouth County jury has returned guilty verdicts on all charges against a Hightstown man who fatally shot a Freehold woman as she drove along on a state highway three years ago, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Tuesday.
Kader Mustafa, 40, was convicted of first-degree Murder, second-degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, two counts of second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and two counts of third-degree Endangering Another Person in connection with the killing of 24-year-old Sciasia Calhoun.
Shortly before 11:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, 2018, members of the Freehold Township Police Department responded to a 911 call originating from a vehicle stopped along Route 33 West near the exit ramp for Halls Mill Road. At that location, officers found three occupants of the vehicle, a 1997 Mazda Protégé: Calhoun, having sustained a single gunshot wound to the head, and her boyfriend and her 1-year-old daughter, both of whom were not physically harmed.
Calhoun was rushed by Freehold First Aid, with the assistance of Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Service Corporation (MONOC), to nearby CentraState Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead approximately one hour later.
An intensive investigation by the MCPO Major Crimes Bureau, greatly assisted by the Freehold Township and Manalapan police departments, revealed that Mustafa was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Impala when he fired a single shot at Calhoun, after several minutes of following her vehicle and flashing his high beams. Mustafa was apprehended in Manalapan in the area of Oakland Mills Road at approximately 8:10 a.m. the morning after the shooting, when two handguns were recovered from the vehicle.
Tuesday’s verdict was delivered following a multi-week trial before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano Jr. Representing the State during the proceedings was Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Investigation Division Director and Assistant Prosecutor John Loughrey.
“This was a chilling, senseless crime, committed against a total stranger in the dead of night, in front of the victim’s horrified boyfriend and young child,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said. “We thank the jury for their service and are deeply gratified to know that while today’s verdict can’t bring Sciasia Calhoun back, this defendant will be kept off the streets and brought to justice for his actions.”
Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday, January 7, 2022. Mustafa is facing a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of life in state prison, with a 30-year period of parole ineligibility.
Weekdays 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; weekends 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at Hollowbrook Center
September 14, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–
TRENTON – Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Mercer County has opened a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at Hollowbrook Community Center, 320 Hollowbrook Drive, Ewing Township, to assist any Mercer County residents or businesses whose property was damaged in the remnants of Hurricane Ida. The DRC is open starting today, Sept. 14 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sunday. Residents do not need to schedule an appointment to visit the center, nor must they be Mercer County residents.
The DRC will be staffed by FEMA representatives who can provide information on FEMA disaster aid and answer questions. Again, the DRC is open to residents and businesses from every municipality in Mercer County, and residents from any other county that received the FEMA “Disaster” declaration.
On Sept. 10, Mercer County residents were declared eligible to register for Individual Assistance with FEMA. Residents who previously registered for assistance via the Internet or by phone do not need to visit the DRC, but can ask questions or seek further information in person at the DRC. The eligibility for FEMA Individual Assistance means residents or business owners whose properties were directly damaged by the flooding or storm events on September 1-3 can apply to recoup their losses.
What is a Disaster Recovery Center?
A DRC is a readily accessible facility or mobile office where applicants may go for information about FEMA or other disaster assistance programs, or for questions related to a specific case.
Some of the services that a DRC may provide:
Guidance regarding disaster recovery
Clarification of any written correspondence received
Housing Assistance and Rental Resource information
Answers to questions, resolution to problems and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance
Status of applications being processed by FEMA.
SBA program information if there is a SBA Representative at the Disaster Recovery Center site.
Affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or registering by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.
The toll-free numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time Monday through Sunday, and applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information such as their name, the name of the business, address, phone number, insurance coverage, and other information to help substantiate losses.
Individual Assistance, if awarded, can cover reimbursement for a variety of storm-related expenses.
These include, but are not limited to: rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are uninhabitable; grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance; low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance; loans for small businesses that suffered disaster-related cash flow problems; and loans for farmers and other agriculture operators to cover property loss.
Additionally, mall businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in Mercer County are eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Administration. For more information, visit https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/.
Residents in need of assistance with damage from Tropical Storm Ida may call a Home Cleanup Hotline at 844-965-1386 to be connected with volunteers from local relief organizations and community groups that may be able to assist with cutting fallen trees, removing drywall, flooring and appliances, tarping roofs and mitigating mold.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Executive, Brian M. Hughes said, It’s hard to believe it’s been two decades since the terrorist attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Tragically, we’ve lost many more since; heroic first responders and others who spent weeks and months working at Ground Zero, and who have since died from cancer or respiratory illness.
While 20 years may seem like a long time, we continue to mourn the loss of innocent life on that fateful day. In Mercer County, many residents lost loved ones and friends, and continue to bear the scars of having their lives changed forever by senseless violence. So, every year on this date, we honor the victims of September 11 by coming together in solemn remembrance, quiet reflection and in service.
But honoring their memory isn’t limited to a formal ceremony on or near the anniversary date.
The County’s September 11 Memorial – which opened in Mercer County Park in West Windsor on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 – was designed to be a special place where people can go for solace and comfort 365 days a year. I encourage everyone to visit that memorial when the time is right for you, to spend a few moments in quiet reflection and remembrance.
And most importantly, each and every day, we can honor the memory of the victims of September 11 by embracing peace and hope, and not losing sight of the principles on which America stands, such as tolerance, inclusion and caring. Each and every day, we can honor their memory by celebrating our oneness as a nation and our unity in the face of adversity.
September 11 Events Throughout Mercer County
8 a.m., New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; 101 Eggerts Crossing Road, Lawrence Township.
8:30 a.m., Lawrence Township 9/11 Memorial Ceremony; Memorial Park, Pilla Avenue, Lawrence Township.
9:45 a.m., Robbinsville Professional Firefighters Association will conduct its 20th annual ceremony at the 9/11 memorial site on Lake Drive.
10 a.m., Hamilton Township September 11th 20th Anniversary Ceremony; Memorial Grove, Veterans Park, Klockner Road Entrance, Hamilton.
10 a.m., East Windsor Township 9/11 Program & Wreath Laying Ceremony, East Windsor Municipal Building, Lanning Blvd.
11 a.m., Hopewell Valley 9/11 Memorial Ceremony, Woolsey Park, presented by the Sept. 11th & Emergency Services Memorial Committee.
12 noon, Princeton’s 9/11 Memorial Dedication, 2 Mount Lucas Road, Princeton, in front of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad. The 9/11 Committee will dedicate a permanent memorial containing an 8-foot piece of steel recovered from the World Trade Center.
7 p.m., West Windsor Township 9/11 “20th Anniversary” Ceremony; Twin Ponds Memorial at the Ronald R. Rogers Arboretum, intersection of Clarksville and Princeton-Hightstown Road.
Flash flooding from Tropical Storm Ida’s heavy rains flooded roadways and many homes as creeks and rivers overflowed. Many people were caught in their vehicles in the raging flood waters and 23 New Jerseyans have lost their life to this storm according to Governor Phil Murphy. The National Weather Service has confirmed 7 tornados, in NJ and PA so far.
Video Hamilton Township Sweetbriar Avenue and Whitehead Road area:
“As Mercer County begins to fully grasp and assess the destruction caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, I wish to thank the heroic first responders, the police, firefighters, EMTs, emergency workers and public works professionals, who worked throughout the day and night to save lives. The courage and commitment our first responders have displayed throughout this crisis is awe-inspiring and appreciated.
It is with great sadness that I report that despite the countless rescues that took place overnight, we know that at least two Mercer County souls have been lost.
To our residents who have been displaced from their homes or who have lost property, Mercer County is here to assist you. For those who made it through the storm without harm, I encourage you to check on the well-being of your friends and neighbors and to offer comfort in any way you can.
Finally, I also wish to thank Gov. Phil Murphy for his quick action in declaring a State of Emergency in New Jersey, which will allow Mercer County to seek federal reimbursement for its disaster response and help us begin to pick up the pieces and recover.” — Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes
Princeton: Due to the heavy rainfall last night, Princeton experienced severe flooding and numerous roadways were closed as a result. At approximately 11:43 PM, PPD, PFARS and PFD were dispatched for a swift water rescue on Rosedale Rd. near the Johnson Park School. All responding personnel made efforts to rescue the stranded motorist, who was identified as a 58 year-old Princeton resident. While rescue efforts were attempted, the motorist climbed onto the roof of his vehicle as the water continued to rise at a rapid rate. Due to the unsafe water level and dangerous current rescue efforts were unsuccessful. As a result, requests were made for the NJSP aviation unit to respond and assist. At 4:08 AM the victim was successfully hoisted into the helicopter and flown to Trenton Mercer Airport for evaluation. Mutual aid was received by Lawrenceville Fire Co., Princeton Junction Fire Co., Hamilton Fire Dept., Trenton Fire Dept. and the Pennsauken FD High Water Truck.
During the aforementioned rescue, a second motorist became stranded with high rising waters on Rt. 206 in the area of Quaker Rd. The resident was identified at 30 year-old Montgomery resident. The PPD, PFARS and PFD all responded. The swift moving water flooded the roadway and began to flood the motorist’s vehicle, forcing the driver to escape onto the roof of the vehicle while emergency rescue efforts were made. The Trenton FD responded with a ladder truck, which drove into the flooded roadway and extended its 100 ft ladder, which was used to rescue the motorist.
...7 CONFIRMED TORNADOES SO FAR...
...DAMAGE SURVEYS CONTINUE...
.Update...Update to include survey results for Harrisonville-Mullica Hill-
The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, NJ continues
to conduct several storm surveys this afternoon. The surveys are
in relation to the severe thunderstorms that moved through the
area on September 1, 2021.
Some Preliminary Tornado Information...
1) Mullica Hill, NJ area (Gloucester County): Confirmed EF-3 with
estimated peak winds up to 150 mph tornado.
2) Fort Washington/Upper Dublin Twp to Horsham Twp, PA
(Montgomery County): Confirmed EF-2 with estimated peak winds up
to 130 mph.
3) Edgewater Park, NJ (Burlington County) to Bristol, PA (Bucks
County): Confirmed EF-1 with estimated peak winds up to 90 mph.
4) Oxford, PA (Chester County): Confirmed tornado.
5) Buckingham Twp, PA (Bucks County): Confirmed EF-1 with
estimated peak winds up to 100 mph.
6) Princeton, NJ (Mercer County): Confirmed EF-0 with estimated
peak winds up to 75 mph.
7) Upper Makefield Township, PA (Bucks County): Confirmed tornado.
Additional information, as it becomes available, will be sent via
Public Information Statements and also posted on our social media
SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The remnants of Hurricane Ida created major flash flooding last evening and overnight. The heavy rain started around 5 PM and by 11:30 PM over 8 inches of rain had fallen in the Township. In the twelve hours after the heavy rain began to fall, there were 125 calls for police, fire, and EMS service. Two families who were trapped in vehicles were rescued by firefighters and briefly sheltered at police headquarters. There were no serious injuries as a result of the storm. As of 3 PM Thursday all roads have been cleared of floodwaters with the exception of Route 27 at the Princeton border. Here are some of the numbers from the storm –
TOTAL CALLS – 125
WATER RESCUES – 15 people
Between 8:30 PM and 11:45 PM Wednesday night, firefighters rescued 15 people from vehicles stuck in flash floodwaters around the Township. Here are the locations the rescues occurred at –
Kendall Park Fire Department – Route 1, Oakey Drive, Hawthorne Road, Shelly Road
Monmouth Junction Fire Department – Route 130, Major Road, Blackhorse Lane
Kingston Fire Department – Route 1, Mapleton Road, Raymond Road
MOTORIST ASSIST IN HIGH WATER CALLS – 51
TOTAL CARS TOWED FROM FLOODED ROADS – 33
ROADS STILL CLOSED – 1 (Route 27 / Princeton Border)
FLOODED BASEMENT CALLS – 11
South Brunswick Office of Emergency Management Director and Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said, “I want to thank all the police officers and firefighters who risked going into flooded waters to get people to safety. The flash flooding created life-threatening conditions in minutes. The conditions yesterday deteriorated rapidly last evening and too many people ventured out onto the roads. The property damage left behind will be cleaned up in the coming days, but we must all remember to stay off roads when flash flooding is present.”
MOUNT HOLLY, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The National Weather Service has issued a TORNADO EMERGENCY for the following areas:
Severe Weather Statement
National Weather Service Mount Holly NJ
713 PM EDT Wed Sep 1 2021
Mercer NJ-Burlington NJ-Bucks PA-
713 PM EDT Wed Sep 1 2021
...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 730 PM EDT FOR CENTRAL
MERCER...NORTH CENTRAL BURLINGTON AND SOUTHEASTERN BUCKS COUNTIES...
At 712 PM EDT, a confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was
located over Tullytown, or near Trenton, moving northeast at 40 mph.
This is a PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION. TAKE COVER NOW!
SOURCE...NWS employee confirmed tornado.
IMPACT...You are in a life-threatening situation. Flying debris may
be deadly to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes
will be destroyed. Considerable damage to homes,
businesses, and vehicles is likely and complete destruction
Locations impacted include...
Trenton, Ewing, Florence, Bristol, Bordentown, Pennington, Yardley,
Tullytown, Edinburg, White Horse, Windsor, Florence-Roebling,
Mercerville-Hamilton Square, Levittown, Lawrenceville, Woodside,
Morrisville, Penndel, Langhorne Manor and Hulmeville.
This includes the following highways...
New Jersey Turnpike near exit 6A.
Pennsylvania Turnpike between mile markers 356 and 359.
Interstate 195 in New Jersey between mile markers 0 and 5.
Interstate 295 in New Jersey between mile markers 58 and 76.
To repeat, a large, extremely dangerous and potentially deadly
tornado is occurring. To protect your life, TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a
basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy
building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in
a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect
yourself from flying debris.
LAT...LON 4009 7480 4014 7492 4037 7482 4025 7454
TIME...MOT...LOC 2312Z 213DEG 35KT 4016 7481
TORNADO DAMAGE THREAT...CONSIDERABLE
MAX HAIL SIZE...<.75 IN
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–At 8:30 p.m. last night August 23, the Robbinsville Township Fire Department and Hightstown Fire Department were dispatched to a vehicle fire at mile marker 65 north bound inner roadway. Radio reports say that a vehicle traveling north in the outer roadway crashed and overturned and ended up in the inner roadway and burst into flames. When firefighters arrived they found a vehicle fully involved at mile marker 65 and quickly extinguished the fire. Ambulances from Robbinsville Township and Hightstown First Aid Squad transported accident victims for what appeared to be minor injuries to local hospitals. No further information is available at this time.
Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Henri flooded the area overnight with up to eight inches of rain in the Central New Jersey area. Many people traveling on flooded roadways were trapped in the vehicles and needed to be rescued.
Hightstown Fire Company reported responding to at least 10 incidents with the majority being water rescues. Hightstown firefighters rescued eight civilians who were trapped in their vehicles or relocated to the roof of their vehicles due to flood waters.
The National Weather Service reported that 4 to 8 inches of rain fell from the storm and that Middlesex and Mercer Counties were particular hard hit.
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–America’s 911 Ride came though Hightstown yesterday afternoon on their way to New York City. This year the motorcycle ride is remembering the 20th anniversary of 911. The ride starts at the Pentagon in Arlington-Washington, D.C., proceeds to the memorial at Shanksville, PA and ends in New York City at the World Trade Center site.
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–MidJersey.News was able to capture possible tornadic activity in the area of Old York Road and the NJ Turnpike. The clouds with rotation indicating a possible tornado was spotted behind the Field Of Terror off of Windsor Prineville Road as it moved toward Millstone Township. Further down the road the tornadic activity crossed Winsor Prineville Road towards Roosevelt and Clarksburg.
Just prior to the possible tornado spotting there were reports of damage to a building on Route 130 in Robbinsville and wires down near Gordon Road, Perrineville Road and Allen’s Road.
Several people were stuck in vehicles around the area including Mercer Street Hightstown, Main Street Hightstown, One Mile Road East Windsor, Route 571 East and West Windsor.
MidJersey.News will be out in the morning to check for damage in the areas where the possible tornado was spotted. This is the same area where the NWS reported the rotation.
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Hightstown Police were investigating a 9-1-1 call earlier for a missing teenager. It escalated around 5:50 p.m. when the Hightstown Fire Company was dispatched to the Peddie Lake in the area of Main Street for a “water rescue” due to the nature of the call mutual aid was dispatched from several area fire departments and rescue squads.
The search concentrated around the Peddie Lake Bridge on East Ward Street. Hightstown Police and Peddie Security searched the area and the banks of the lake and the school campus. Fire Departments deployed boats to search the area of the bridge. The Mercer County Sherriff’s Office searched with their drone.
After approximately a two hour search with boats, divers, drones and by foot along the lake nothing was found at the lake. The search was called off just before dark.
Responding departments include: Hightstown Fire Company, Robbinsville Township Fire Department, Plainsboro Fire Department, Trenton Fire Department, Hamilton Township Fire Department, West Windsor Fire Company, East Windsor Fire Company, Hightstown EMS, Robbinsville EMS, East Windsor EMS, Signal 22 and others.
Hightstown Police are continuing the investigation.
Update: Hightstown Police say they are investigating this as a false call. The investigation is still active and when more information becomes available they will let us know.
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–East Windsor Fire Company and Hightstown Fire Company were dispatched to Mercer Street / Route 33 across from Home Depot for a tractor on fire around 2:18 p.m. Responding units reported a large column of smoke in the area and upon arrival found a well involved NJ DOT tractor on fire. Firefighters used water and firefighting foam to put the fire out. There was a small diesel spill on the side of the roadway and the NJ Department of Environmental protection was called. The roadway was shut down and a detour was set up in the area until the situation could be resolved.
CRANBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 8:46 p.m. the Hightstown Fire Company, Cranbury Fire Company, and EMS were dispatched to the NJ Turnpike for a vehicle fire on the inner roadway at mile marker 69. When the fire chief arrived he found a vehicle well involved in fire as the result of an accident. Hightstown and Cranbury firefighters extinguished the fire. It was reported that the injures were non-life-threating and a second ambulance was called to the scene. It was unclear if anyone was transported from the scene to the hospital.
Defendants Include Alleged Leader of Latin Kings Street Gang and Eight Inmates Currently Incarcerated in State Prisons, Including New Jersey State Prison in Trenton
April 29, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that an alleged local leader of the Latin Kings street gang and eight inmates allegedly under his command in various correctional facilities—including Northern State Prison in Newark and New Jersey State Prison in Trenton—have been charged with forming a “hit squad” within the prison system to commit assaults on behalf of the gang. They are specifically charged with engaging in conduct including a brutal attack on one inmate in New Jersey State Prison, a planned assault on another inmate in Northern State Prison that was prevented by the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC), and possession of makeshift blades called “shanks.”
The charges were filed by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) as the result of an investigation by members of the DOC Special Investigations Division (SID) and OPIA Corruption Central Squad.
Frank Blake, aka “Lafay,” 33, of Hillside, N.J., an alleged leader of the Elizabeth, N.J., chapter of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (ALKQN) street gang, allegedly created and directed a “hit squad” in the state prison system to carry out assaults on behalf of ALKQN. Blake and inmate Alexander Chludzinski, aka “D Noble,” 27, of Phillipsburg, N.J., allegedly discussed going to the homes of DOC-SID investigators leading this investigation to commit violence against them.
It is further alleged that, at the request of inmates William Figueroa, aka “King Stitch,” 27, of Hightstown, N.J., and Andy Reyes, aka “Chango,” 25, of Somerset, N.J.—and at the direction of Blake—inmates Roberto Garcia, aka “Taz,” 25, of Carteret, N.J., and Eduardo Lago, aka “King Bay Bay,” 27, of Newark, N.J., brutally assaulted an inmate in the prison yard of New Jersey State Prison in Trenton on Sept. 28, 2020, causing the victim to suffer a traumatic brain injury.
Between December 2020 and February 2021, Blake allegedly conspired with and directed alleged ALKQN members Chludzinski, Reyes, Kevin Washington, aka “King Jafi,” 32, of Atlantic City, N.J., James Zarate, aka “King Samurai,” 33, of Randolph, N.J., and Larry Cardona, aka “King Legend,” 28, of Elizabeth, N.J., in planning an assault on an inmate at Northern State Prison in Newark. DOC-SID investigators learned of the alleged plot and placed the targeted inmate in protective custody to prevent the attempted assault.
“We allege that Blake and the Latin Kings gang members he commanded in the state prison system not only conspired to assault and seriously injure inmates, but went so far as to plot violence against members of the Department of Corrections who were investigating them,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Gang violence is always a danger in our state prisons, but we charge that these defendants and their so-called ‘hit squad’ posed a special threat to the safety and security of inmates and correctional police officers. I commend the DOC Special Investigations Division and OPIA for their outstanding work to neutralize this threat and bring these alleged gang members to justice.”
“As a result of the thorough investigation conducted by the DOC Special Investigations Division and our detectives and attorneys, eight of these nine defendants now face a charge of first-degree gang criminality carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in prison,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “This investigation is ongoing. We charge that these members of the Latin Kings sought to hold sway in prison through violence and fear as if they were out on the street, but we have stopped their alleged reign of terror. We’re committed to protecting people in custody.”
Blake—the only defendant not currently incarcerated—allegedly commanded the gang members inside the prison through phone calls as well as letters. Blake was arrested on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The eight inmates were charged yesterday. All of the defendants except Cardona are charged with first-degree gang criminality and second-degree conspiracy. In addition, Blake is charged with first-degree promoting organized street crime.
Blake, Figueroa, Reyes, Lago, and Garcia are charged with second-degree aggravated assault in the assault on the inmate at New Jersey State Prison who suffered a brain injury. Blake, Chludzinski, Washington, Reyes, Zarate, and Cardona are charged with second-degree attempted aggravated assault for allegedly planning the assault at Northern State Prison that was thwarted when DOC placed the targeted inmate in protective custody.
Blake and Chludzinski are charged with second-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution, third-degree terroristic threats, and fourth-degree obstruction for the alleged threats of violence against DOC-SID members investigating this case. Cardona, Chludzinski, Reyes, and Zarate are charged with possessing shanks, and Cardona is charged with possessing a cell phone in prison.
When Blake was arrested, investigators executed a search warrant at his home, seizing a .45-caliber pistol, a .357-caliber revolver loaded with hollow-point bullets, a 9mm pistol, an illegal large-capacity magazine, additional bullets including hollow-point rounds, numerous suspected methamphetamine pills, and two digital scales. For those items, he is charged with second-degree possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, second-degree possession of a weapon during commission of a drug offense, third-degree possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in a school zone, and fourth-degree possession of a large-capacity magazine, among other charges.
The criminal complaints against the nine defendants are posted with this press release at:
Deputy Attorney General Colin Keiffer is prosecuting the case for the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the supervision of OPIA Corruption Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione. They were assisted by Deputy Attorney General Heather Hausleben and other members of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
Attorney General Grewal thanked all of the investigators and detectives who conducted the investigation for the DOC Special Investigations Division and the OPIA Corruption Central Squad. For security reasons, they are not being named individually.
Attorney General Grewal also thanked the New Jersey State Police TEAMS North Unit, Division of Criminal Justice Cyber Crimes Unit, Union County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Division, and Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Unit for their assistance in the investigation.
First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. The sentences for gang criminality and promoting organized street crime must be consecutive to the sentence for any underlying offense. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Possession of a weapon as a convicted felon carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of five years. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Pfizer Vaccination for Eligible Teens April 27-29 The West Windsor Health Department is partnering with Hamilton Township, Princeton and Olden Pharmacy to offer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations to individuals 16 and 17 years of age who live, work or attend school in West Windsor, Robbinsville or Hightstown.
These mini clinics will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, Wednesday, April 28 and Thursday, April 29. Appointments are required and parents or guardians must attend the clinic. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact the Health Department at 609-936-8400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Police and the East Windsor Township Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance with identifying a man who allegedly broke into three Sea Box freight storage containers and stole several items.
On Sunday, April 11, at approximately 10:00 a.m., the suspect cut the padlocks on three storage containers located in the township and removed a pallet of LED parking lot lights. The suspect also stole a Honda generator, two jumping jack power tools, a rotary laser, a concrete saw, two rolls of copper, a trash pump, an impact drill, and a plastic blower.
Prior to departing, the suspect removed a security camera from the scene and placed it in his vehicle while it was still recording. He then fled in a Ford van, pickup truck, or box truck with a circular-shaped sticker in the driver’s side corner of the windshield.
Detectives with the State Police Forensic Imaging Unit completed a detailed sketch of the suspect based on surveillance images.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective McCandrew of the East Windsor Police Department at 609-448-5678, ext. 230 or email email@example.com.
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–A 1:08 pm the Hightstown and Robbinsville Township Fire Departments were dispatched to a vehicle fire on the NJ Turnpike at Mile Marker 66 South Bound just south of Exit 8 Hightstown/East Windsor.
When the first firefighters arrived they found a car carrier fire carrying several cars on fire on the shoulder. Heavy black smoke could be seen for miles as the vehicles burned and flames were about 20 feet in the air at times above the well involved vehicle.
Water tankers were called from East Windsor Fire Company, Plainsboro Fire Company and Monroe Township for additional water to fight the fire. The firefighters had the flames under control within about a half hour.
Fire units were on scene until 2:34 pm as they mopped up hot spots.
There was a significant south bound traffic delay of 3 miles according to Google Maps at the time of this report.
No further information is available at this time and no word on the cause of the fire.
If you like what you see here help MidJersey.news continue to provide coverage of local news events. MidJersey.news is one of the leading news sources in the center part of the state and could use your donation to support independent journalism.
If you like what you see here help MidJersey.news continue to provide coverage of local news events. MidJersey.news is one of the leading news sources in the center part of the state and could use your donation to support independent journalism. Think about a monthly donation to help MidJersey.news
Slow down roads are very slippery in untreated areas.
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Around 3:50 pm the Hightstown Police Department, Hightstown Fire Company and Robbinsville EMS responded to North Main Street and Monmouth Street for a vehicle into a building.
Upon arrival the vehicle appeared to have struck a home and came to rest in the street at the corner of N. Main and Monmouth Streets, no injuries were reported. Hightstown Police shut down the intersection until the car could be towed away.
Hightstown Police Department is investigating the accident. No other information is available.
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–A man became trapped near the falls when he entered the Peddie Lake under his own volition this morning around 8:36 am. and had to be rescued according to Hightstown Borough Police Department, Sergeant Benjamin L. Miller.
Hightstown Police stated that on Saturday, January 23, 2021, at 8:36 a.m., officers were dispatched to the Peddie Lake, near the waterfalls, Main Street, for a male in the lake. Upon arrival, officers observed an elderly male subject standing, who appeared disoriented, in the lake; the officers immediately requested the Hightstown Fire Department’s water rescue unit and an ambulance for the extraction and care of the subject. The subject was assisted by fire personnel up a ladder and removed from the lake. The subject was transported to Princeton Medical Center by the Hightstown First Aid Squad for evaluation.
Responding the the scene, Hightstown Police Department, Hightstown Fire Company, Capital Health Paramedics, and Hightstown First Aid Squad. Robbinsville Township Fire Department, East Windsor and Plainsboro Fire Departments were dispatched but were not needed and turned around en-route.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Once again, Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler has issued a warning to area residents regarding telephone scammers posing as Mercer County Sheriff’s Officers. Over the past month, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints about suspected phone scams asking residents for personal bank account information or cash payments. Some calls have reached residents throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The scammers identify themselves as Mercer County Sheriff’s Officers along with fictitious badge numbers. The callers state they have an arrest warrant related to money laundering charges and need access to their bank accounts. The scammers also suggest meeting at a location and to bring cash for bail or fines. Otherwise, they will be taken into custody. “I can state with confidence the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office will never call anyone and ask for their bank account number or to meet in an odd location to pay bail or fines with cash,” said Sheriff Kemler.Unfortunately, it is difficult to crack down on telephone scammers because calls are often generated from phone banks located out of state. While the calls remain under investigation, the best advice is to exercise common sense. If a resident suspects a particular telephone call may be a scam, do not give out any personal information and simply hang up. Anyone who receives such a call and is uncertain of its validity should report the call to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office at 609-989-6111.
ROBBINSVILLE-EAST WINDSOR TOWNSHIPS, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township firefighters responded to the 500 Block of Perrineville Road at 6:47 am for a car into a utility pole with injuries. Upon arrival of Robbinsville Police, fire and EMS the person was still in vehicle with wires one the vehicle. Jersey Central Power & Light JCP&L was notified and responded. The person was removed from the vehicle and transported to a local hospital.
At 8:28 am the Robbinsville Township Fire Department, Hightstown Fire Company, East Windsor First Aid, Robbinsville EMS responded to the New Jersey Turnpike for an overturned tractor trailer with reported entrapment. The accident happened in the north bound outer roadway (truck lanes) mile marker 66.0 about 1 mile prior to Exit 8 and blocked all the lanes of the outer roadway. When fire and EMS personnel arrived the driver was able to get out of the vehicle on their own power. Currently the roadway has reopened but one lane remains closed.