Category: Aberdeen

Monroe County, PA, Man Sentenced to 16+ Years in Prison for Heroin and Cocaine Distribution in Bayshore Area of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties in NJ

December 3, 2021

TRENTON, N.J. – A Monroe County, Pennsylvania man was sentenced today to 200 months in prison for his role in distributing large quantities of heroin and cocaine in the Bayshore area of Monmouth and Middlesex counties, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

Guy Jackson, 49, of Effort, Pennsylvania, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Jackson also admitted to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine. Judge Martinotti imposed the sentence today via videoconference.

Today’s sentence follows a coordinated takedown in November 2018 of 15 defendants charged in a federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. To date, 13 defendants have pleaded guilty. Supplier Gregory Gillens was sentenced on Sept. 8, 2020, to 10 years in prison. Co-defendant Daniel McHugh was sentenced to 90 months in prison; co-defendant David Nagy was sentenced to one year and one day in prison; co-defendant Shavar Williams was sentenced to time served, which amounted to approximately 14 months in prison; co-defendant Daryl Jackson was sentenced to five years’ probation with 10 months of home detention; and co-defendant Brian Hall was sentenced to three years’ probation with eight months of home detention. Co-defendants Krystal Cordoba, Daniel Alfano, Tyler Scarangello, Christy Dube, Richard Gethers, and Lashawn Mealing are awaiting sentencing. Defendant Deberal Rogers has been indicted, and charges were dismissed against one defendant.

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

From May 2017 to November 2018, Jackson and others engaged in a narcotics conspiracy that operated in the Raritan Bayshore region of Middlesex and northern Monmouth counties. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin and cocaine, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that Jackson regularly supplied large quantities of heroin and cocaine for further distribution. Some of the heroin distributed by the conspiracy contained fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid.

In addition to the prison terms, Judge Martinotti sentenced Jackson to five years of supervised release. Four vehicles that Jackson used in the course of the drug conspiracy, as well as in excess of $10,000 in cash that Jackson admitted was proceeds of drug trafficking, were previously seized and administratively forfeited.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force (including representatives from the Bradley Beach Police Department, Brick Police Department, Howell Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Toms River Police Department, and Union Beach Police Department) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch, Jr.; special agents of the FBI, Philadelphia Division, Scranton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire; the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan; the Matawan Police Department, under the direction of Chief Thomas J. Falco, Jr.; the Holmdel Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Mioduszewski; the Highlands Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Burton; the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey; the Old Bridge Police Department, under the direction of Chief William A. Volkert; the Keansburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief Wayne Davis; the Hazlet Police Department, under the direction of Chief Ted A. Wittke; and the Aberdeen Police Department, under the direction of Chief Alan Geyer, with the investigation leading to this week’s sentencings.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

The charges and allegations against the remaining defendant are merely accusations, and she is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Defense counsel: Lorraine Gauli-Rufo Esq., Verona, New Jersey


Eight Indicted on Charges Involving Child Sex Abuse Materials

December 2, 2021

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Monmouth County grand jury this week returned indictments against two defendants charged with crimes involving distribution and/or possession of child sexual abuse materials, bringing the total number of indictments of this kind over approximately the last month to eight, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Thursday.

Two of the eight defendants have been charged with first-degree crimes, the most serious applicable offenses under state law.

Indicted on Tuesday were:

  • Jonathan W. Cruz, 38, of Aberdeen, arrested January 2020 and indicted on charges of first-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child via Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials using a File-Sharing Program Available to Others and first-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child via Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials; and
  • Neil Ridgway, 58, of Howell, arrested April 2019 and indicted on charges of third-degree Endangering via Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials.

Indicted earlier this fall were:

  • Michael Pipitone, 39, of Middletown, arrested in September 2020 and indicted on charges of first-degree Endangering via Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials using a File-Sharing Program Available to Others and second-degree Endangering via Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials;
  • Charles Hoagland, 57, of Hazlet, arrested in November 2020 and indicted on three counts of second-degree Endangering via Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials and one count of second-degree Endangering via Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials;
  • David Eidman, 53, of Long Branch, arrested in November 2020 and indicted on two counts of second-degree Endangering via Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials and single counts of third-degree Endangering via Possession and third-degree Attempted Endangering;
  • Carl Aliwalas, 29, of Neptune Township, arrested in May 2021 and indicted for second-degree Endangering via Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials and second-degree Endangering via Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials; and
  • John Coluzzi, 33, of Manalapan, arrested in May 2021; and Marvin Diaz, 35, of Howell, arrested in November 2019; both were indicted for second-degree Endangering via Distribution and third-degree Endangering via Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials.  

Additionally, earlier this fall, 40-year-old Kenneth Megill of Wall Township, arrested in January 2020, was indicted on charges of third-degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child and third-degree Attempted Obscenity to a Minor for allegedly engaging in inappropriate conversations with and attempting to show inappropriate materials to a juvenile.

Investigations into the actions of these defendants were conducted by members of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, working in tandem with representatives of local police departments in the jurisdictions in which the crimes took place. The cases are assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan.

The Monmouth County ICAC Task Force includes members of the following police departments: Bradley Beach, Eatontown, Howell, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Middletown, Neptune Township, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, Tinton Falls, Keyport, Keansburg, Belmar, Holmdel, and Red Bank; the Task Force also receives investigative support from the New Jersey State Police (High Tech Crime Bureau).

Convictions on first-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by terms of 10 to 20 years in state prison. Second-degree convictions can result in terms of 5 to 10 years; third-degree convictions can result in terms of 3 to 5 years.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.


After Successful Gun Buyback In Asbury Park, Second Gun Buyback Event To Be Held In Freehold Township

October 29, 2021

FREEHOLD NJ (MONMOUTH)–Following a successful gun buyback held in Asbury Park last weekend, a second such event will be held next month, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Friday.

The second gun buyback in as many months is scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 20 at the Bethel AME Church on Waterworks Road in Freehold Township.

The event is being sponsored by the Prosecutor’s Office, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, under the leadership of Sheriff Shaun Golden; the Freehold Borough Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Craig W. Dispenza; the Freehold Township Police Department, under the leadership of Chief George K. Baumann; and the Bethel AME Church, under the leadership of the Rev. Ronald L. Sparks.  

The payment schedule for the Freehold gun buyback will differ slightly from that of the event in Asbury Park; assault weapons will be collected in exchange for $250 in cash, handguns for $100 apiece, and shotguns and rifles for $25 apiece. There will be no cash compensation for ammunition, replica guns, or BB and pellet guns. All weapons must be transported to the gun buyback safely, unloaded, in a secured box or carry case, or with a trigger lock.

As with the Asbury Park event, the gun buyback will be strictly anonymous, with no questions asked of those surrendering firearms. There will also again be no limit on the number of firearms that can be turned in per person.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a New Jersey Office of the Attorney General press conference hosted yesterday at the National Guard Armory in Lawrenceville, where Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that nearly 3,000 firearms were turned in by residents at state- and locally sponsored gun buyback events held across the state on Saturday, October 23 at 10 locations, including Asbury Park.

A total of 360 firearms, including 159 handguns, 133 rifles and shotguns, and three assault weapons were surrendered over the course of about eight hours in Asbury Park.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our results in Monmouth County, where more firearms were collected at a single site during a gun buyback event than at any point in more than eight years,” Acting Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Michael Wojciechowski said. “Those results illustrated obvious and robust interest in the availability of such programs, and we are pleased to offer yet another chance, on the other side of the county, for individuals to safely and anonymously rid themselves of unwanted firearms in exchange for cash.”

The two gun buyback events in Asbury Park and Freehold marked Monmouth County’s first such events since 2017.


Monmouth County (Asbury Park)
Acting County Prosecutor Lori Linskey
Total weapons: 360
Assault weapons: 3
Rifles/shotguns: 133
Handguns: 159




Acting AG Bruck and 9 County Prosecutors: New Jersey’s Largest Ever Single-Day Gun Buyback Yields Nearly 3,000 Firearms

Speaking at a press conference yesterday October 28, 2021 at the National Guard Armory in Lawrenceville, Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that nearly three thousand firearms were turned in by residents at state-and locally-sponsored gun buyback events that were held on Saturday, October 23 at ten locations in partnership with Bergen, Camden, Cumberland, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Salem, Somerset, and Union Counties.

Acting AG Bruck made the announcement with county prosecutors and law enforcement leaders from participating locations. The “Guns for Cash” events in Englewood, Camden, Bridgeton, Trenton, Somerset, Asbury Park, Carneys Point, Elizabeth, Plainfield, and Westfield yielded 2,806 firearms.

Acting AG Bruck noted that the weapons collected at the ten locations included 1,196 handguns, 1,206 rifles/shotguns, and 29 assault weapons. A breakdown of the firearms collected by county is as follows:

Bergen County (Englewood)
County Prosecutor Mark Musella
Total weapons: 248
Assault weapons: 1
Rifles/shotguns: 95
Handguns: 119

Camden County (Camden City)
Acting County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer
Total weapons: 249
Assault weapons: 2
Rifles/shotguns: 101
Handguns: 120

Cumberland County (Bridgeton)
County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McCrae
Total weapons: 391
Assault weapons: 10
Rifles/shotguns: 142
Handguns: 168

Mercer County (Trenton)
County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri
Total weapons: 194
Assault weapons: 2
Rifles/shotguns: 102
Handguns: 58

Middlesex/Somerset Counties (Somerset)
County Prosecutors Yolanda Ciccone & Michael H. Robertson
Total weapons: 621
Assault weapons: 2
Rifles/shotguns: 274
Handguns: 239

Monmouth County (Asbury Park)
Acting County Prosecutor Lori Linskey
Total weapons: 360
Assault weapons: 3
Rifles/shotguns: 133
Handguns: 159

Salem County (Carneys Point)
Acting County Prosecutor Kristin J. Telsey
Total weapons: 223
Assault weapons: 3
Rifles/shotguns: 92
Handguns: 86

Union County (Elizabeth, Plainfield, Westfield)
County Prosecutor William A. Daniel
Total weapons: 520
Assault weapons: 6
Rifles/shotguns: 267
Handguns: 247

New Jersey residents were invited to turn in up to three firearms of any type “no questions asked,” and could earn a maximum of $750. Under standardized pricing set for the buybacks, gun owners were paid $25 for inoperable firearms and BB/pellet guns, $125 for rifles and shotguns, $200 for handguns, and $250 for assault weapons. The buybacks were funded predominantly by forfeiture dollars obtained by the local police departments and County Prosecutors’ Offices, as well as forfeiture funds from the Division of Criminal Justice.

Each of the gun buybacks represented a collaboration between law enforcement and community stakeholders, who promoted and assisted with the events. The nearly three thousand guns collected at the buybacks were rendered inoperable by local police who staffed each event, and will be melted down.

“Every single gun recovered represents a potential life saved,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “Our gun buyback events are a great example of what can be accomplished when law enforcement agencies work together with the communities they serve.”

“We are committed to doing everything in our power to reduce gun violence in New Jersey,” said Lyndsay V. Ruotolo, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We saw an outpouring of support from community members and leaders this past Saturday, and the latest results are proof positive that the gun buyback is a successful way for us to actively, collaboratively, and successfully participate in a united violence reduction effort.”

Statements of support from local leaders:

“Like so many public safety efforts, reducing gun violence requires a variety of strategies. In addition to our traditional and core law enforcement functions, we know that reducing the availability of guns, community engagement, and tackling addiction and poverty are just some of the ways we can make an impact,” said Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella. “Thank you, Acting Attorney General Bruck, for inviting the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and our local partners in the Englewood Police Department and Bergen County Sheriff’s Office to participate in the gun amnesty program.”

“The CCPO is proud to have been a part of this statewide initiative that resulted in thousands of guns being collected,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer. “Those guns will never make it to the streets or fall into the hands of a child because of the outstanding team effort, spearheaded by Acting Attorney General Bruck, and his vision for a safer New Jersey. This gun buy back was just one chapter in our mission to reduce gun violence in our county and state.”

“We are pleased with the results of the Gun Buy Back in Cumberland County,” said Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae. “391 firearms were collected and will not fall into the wrong hands as a result of this program.  We see this as one piece of an ongoing initiative to promote gun safety and eradicate gun violence in our community.  I would like to thank the Cumberland County Chiefs and Sheriff for their support in making this very important program a success.”

“Mercer County is proud to have played a part in such a successful collaboration,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri. “To see such a turnout from our citizens and community leaders was so encouraging and demonstrates people really want to make a difference.  Mercer County pledges to continue to put the work in every day to combat gun violence and remove illegal guns from our neighborhoods.”

“The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is proud to have shepherded this important endeavor undertaken by Middlesex and Somerset law enforcement and made possible by the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens,” said Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone.  “With nearly 3,000 firearms safely recovered from across our State, these are weapons that can never find their way into the hands of those who would do harm to our communities.”

“We couldn’t be prouder of our results in Monmouth County, where more firearms were collected at a single site during a gun buyback event than at any point in more than eight years,” Acting Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Michael Wojciechowski said. “Gun violence being a monumentally daunting public-safety concern, it is so deeply encouraging to consider that none of the 360 weapons turned in last weekend will ever be used to harm anyone. On behalf of Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey, we extend our sincere thanks to our trusted partners with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Board of Monmouth County Commissioners, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, and Asbury Park Police Department for their assistance, and in particular to the Second Baptist Church of Asbury Park and Pastor Semaj Vanzant Sr. for their hospitality.”

“This program was a tremendous success for Salem County, allowing us to collect five times as many guns as at prior events,” said Acting Salem County Prosecutor Kristin J. Telsey. “Every gun collected represents the possibility that a life has been saved by removing the potential for a tragic accident or an act of violence as a result of that firearm.  While these programs alone will not end gun violence, the removal of 223 guns from Salem County alone does make a real difference.  Thank you to all of our partnering agencies and to every person who came out to make this effort such a success.”

“We welcome the opportunity to participate in the gun buyback program with our law enforcement partners throughout the State,” said Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson. “Reducing the amount of firearms that could potentially cause violence in our communities is a top priority for all of us and we will continue to participate in initiatives that make our neighborhoods safer.”

“I am pleased to share that Saturday’s gun buyback event in Union County netted a total of more than 520 unwanted firearms,” said Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel. “Through our partnerships with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Union County Board of County Commissioners, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Union County, Elizabeth, Plainfield, and Westfield police departments, local houses of worship, and with the enthusiastic participation of community members, countless acts of gun violence and unanticipated tragedy have been prevented.”

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy and Acting AG Bruck are leading a comprehensive, statewide effort to reduce gun deaths, which pairs the latest evidence-based policing strategies with innovative, community-based prevention programs. The three-pronged approach to tackling this public health crisis includes addressing the root causes of violence; keeping guns away from those most likely to harm others; and taking swift action against those who break the law.

Residents with questions about the buyback effort can call the Attorney General’s Office of Constituent Services at (609) 984-5828 or visit www.njoag.gov/gunbuyback/.

Police Standoff Ends Peacefully In Aberdeen

September 4, 2021

ABERDEEN TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A nearly five-hour police standoff with an armed suspect in Aberdeen ended peacefully when the man was taken into custody this afternoon, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey and Aberdeen Township Police Chief Alan Geyer jointly announced Saturday.  

Criminal charges are pending against 45-year-old Wilbert Hickman.

Members of the Aberdeen Township Police Department responded to a home on the 50 block of Wilson Avenue shortly before 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning and found Hickman inside the home’s garage, armed with a machete, a sword, a nail gun, and other dangerous materials such as lighter fluid, according to the preliminary investigation.

The police response quickly led to the deployment of the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team (MOCERT) and the Monmouth County Rapid Deployment Force (RDF), and communication with Hickman was subsequently established and maintained.

Following lengthy negotiations, Hickman was taken into custody shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday, after which he was immediately taken to a local medical facility for evaluation and treatment.

No first responders sustained injury during the incident. The Prosecutor’s Office would like to thank all local and county emergency, fire, and police personnel who responded to the scene and helped bring the situation to a peaceful conclusion.

Despite the aforementioned pending charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.


Aberdeen Police Officer Charged With Two Counts Of Official Misconduct

September 1, 2021

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Aberdeen police officer has been arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree official misconduct and related crimes for separate actions he took while on duty earlier this year, acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Wednesday. The defendant, 34-year-old Philip M. Santiago, lives in Keyport.

Santiago is additionally charged with second-degree engaging in a pattern of official misconduct and two counts of fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence.

An investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crime Unit revealed that in January 2021, Santiago intentionally tampered with a law enforcement drug test he had been ordered to take, rendering it unable to be processed.

The investigation further revealed that in May 2021, while on duty, Santiago deleted a video from a cell phone belonging to a suspect who was in custody, having just been arrested by members of the Aberdeen Police Department. The video had depicted the interaction between the suspect and the officers, leading up to his arrest.  

Santiago was sworn in as a police officer in 2018, after previously serving as an emergency dispatcher in Aberdeen. If convicted on the charge of official misconduct, he could face a state prison term of 5 to 10 years, with a minimum of five full years to be served before the possibility of parole.

Santiago turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday, pending a first appearance scheduled to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court. He has been suspended by the Aberdeen Police Department due to these charges.He is being represented by Tracy Riley, Esq., with an office in Marlton.

The case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crimes Unit.

“The charges being announced today go beyond the mere breaking of laws – they constitute clear and repeated violations of the solemn oath this officer swore to uphold the interests of justice and serve the public good,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said. “Such conduct is patently and unequivocally unacceptable among our ranks in law enforcement, and does not represent the majority who serve with honor and integrity.”

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.


15 Arrested In Monmouth And Mercer County For Possessing and/or Trafficking Child Sexual Abuse Materials

October 19, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Separate investigations have netted fifteen Monmouth County individuals for possessing and or trafficking child sexual abuse materials, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Between July 21, 2020 and October 15, 2020, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit and Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force arrested individuals. Assisting in this Operation were members of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU), the New Jersey ICAC Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office, The Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes members from the following police departments: Eatontown, Howell Township, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Neptune Twp., Spring Lake, Tinton Falls, and Holmdel; and support from the following Monmouth County Police Departments: Asbury Park, Aberdeen, Middletown, Highlands, Freehold Township and Freehold Borough.

            These arrests were designed to reduce online threats to Monmouth County to decrease the market for child sexual exploitation by focusing on those individuals seeking out and trafficking in child pornographic-materials.

The following individuals were arrested:

Antonio Mejia, 38, of 806 5th Avenue, Asbury Park. Mejia was arrested on July 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he transmitted numerous images of child sexual abuse materials and engaged in sexual conversations with 3 males under the age of 16. Mejia was charged with one count second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual abuse materials, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i), one count of Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Manufacturing an Image of Child Exploitation Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3), one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)iii, three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, N.J.S.A 2C:24-4a(1) and three counts of Attempted Obscenity to Minors, 2C:34-3. On July 30, 2020, defendant appeared for a detention hearing before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. was released on the condition that he have no contact with the victims, no access to social media and no contact with anyone under 18. Mejia is represented by Joy Anderson, Esq. of Eatontown.

Brody Sullivan, 20, of 2 Ithaca Court, Aberdeen was arrested on July 22, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Sullivan was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexaul Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)ii and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Sullivan is represented by Anthony Palumbo, Esq. of Cranford.

Anthony Lichtenau, 36, of 72 Brentwood Road, Eatontown was arrested on July 24, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Lichtenau was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Lichtenau is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq. of Ocean Township.

Matthew Fahmie, 33, of 30 Northover Place, Middletown, was arrested on September 10, 2020 following an investigation which revealed that he possessed over 1,000 images of child sexual exploitation material. Fahmie was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii) and was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and restricted internet access. Fahmie is represented by Richard Incremona, Esq. of Freehold Township.

Valentin Valdetano, 20, of 359 North Bath Avenue, Long Branch, was arrested on July 31, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed and traded images of child sexual abuse materials using a chat platform. Valdetano was charged with second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i) and third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Valdetano was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that he not use the internet. Valdetano is represented by Charles Moriarty, Esq. of Long Branch.

Zachary Barnett, 24, 984 Twilight Way, Aberdeen, was arrested on August 7, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Barnett was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Barnett was released on a summons. Barnett is represented by Allison Friedman, Esq. of Freehold.

Brian Wioncek, 62 of 317 Shore Drive, Apartment C, Highlands, was arrested on September 9, 2020 following an investigation that he possessed child sexual abuse materials. Wioncek was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Wioncek was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that his internet usage is restricted.

John Hynes, 21, of 90 Bannard Street, Freehold, was arrested on August 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Hynes was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of disorderly persons possession of a controlled dangerous substance contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4). Hynes was released on a summons. Hynes is represented by Charles Clark, Esq. of Freehold.

Michael Townend, 19, 203 Colts Neck Road, Howell, was arrested on August 25, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Townend was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Townend was released on a summons. Townend is represented by Steven Nelson, Esq. of Neptune.

Robert Sherman, 62, of 112 Route 36, Highlands, was arrested on September 1, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Sherman was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4B(5)(b(iii). Sherman was released on a summons. Sherman is represented by Michael Polloway, Esq. of Red Bank.

Michael Pipitone, 38, of 157 Rutledge Drive, Middletown, was arrested on September 2, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Pipitone was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Pipitone was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by John Hogan, Esq. of Woodbridge.

George Ichkitidze, 39, of 27-08 Whistler Drive, Freehold Township, was arrested on September 25, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Ichkitidze was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Ichkitidze was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by Kevin Clark, Esq. of Ocean Township.

Juvenile, of Freehold Borough, was arrested on September 11, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. The juvenile was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii).

Thomas Vilanova, 49, of 133 Newbury Road, Howell, was charged on October 13, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he possessed images of child sexual abuse material. Vilanova was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is currently on probation for a 2017 conviction for third Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is scheduled to appear in court before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. for a detention hearing on October 22, 2020. Vilanova is represented by Michael Wenning, Esq. of Bradley Beach.

Jamie Khan, 43 of 19 Oxford Drive, East Windsor, was charged on October 15, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was viewing and sending child sexual abuse material while working for his employer in Freehold Township. The investigation further revealed that he was also in possession of child sexual abuse material at his home in East Windsor. Khan was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of  Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i). Khan was released on the condition of no internet usage and no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18.

If convicted of the first degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, Megan’s Law, and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the second degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of ten years in New Jersey State Prison Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the third degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of five years in New Jersey State Prison and Parole Supervision for Life. A conviction for disorderly persons Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana exposes a defendant to a maximum sentence of six months incarceration.

Ichkitidze’s case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer, Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit; the remaining cases are assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan, Computer Crimes Unit.

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

Monmouth County Voting Information And Video Tutorial

October 8, 2020

Visit: https://www.monmouthcountyvotes.com/ for the latest voting information in Monmouth County

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–As you may be aware, this year’s November General Election in New Jersey is being conducted primarily by mail-in ballots, per State mandate. On November 3, 2020, Election Day, limited polling locations will be open for voting on paper provisional ballots only, except for disabled voters. 

Voters across Monmouth County are receiving their mail-in ballots this week and are encouraged to contact the County Clerk’s Election Office at 732-431-7790, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with any questions about the delivery of their ballots. 

Due to this unprecedented change in our election process, Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon has provided a comprehensive webpage on MonmouthCountyVotes.com, explaining this year’s election process.

In addition, our office has provided video tutorials, including an animated step-by-step video informing Monmouth County voters of how to properly complete and return their mail-in ballots. The tutorial also explains how the paper ballots are reviewed and verified by the Monmouth County Board of Elections.

The video can be viewed on our Facebook and YouTube pages. We encourage you to share this important information with your friends and neighbors.







Election Hotline Established to Secure Election Integrity

To help ensure free and fair elections in Monmouth County, the County Election Offices and Prosecutor’s Office have established an election hotline. To report any issues of voter fraud or misconduct in Monmouth County, residents can call the County Prosecutor’s Office hotline at 855-786-5878.

“Our democratic system of government depends on free and fair elections and, as such, election integrity and security is important to all of us,” said County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni and County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon. “For these reasons, our offices are working together to further safeguard the electoral process.”


Upcoming Dates and Voter Deadlines

  • Monday, October 12th: All County Offices closed in observance of Columbus Day
  • Tuesday, October 13th: Voter Registration Deadline for the November General Election
  • Friday, October 30th: Application Deadline for General Election Mail-In Ballots by Electronic Means for Qualified Overseas Civilian and Military Voters 
  • Tuesday, November 3rd: General Election Day!
  • Tuesday, November 3rd at 8 p.m.: Close of the polls; Deadline to deliver mail-in ballot by U.S. Postal Service mail, Drop Box, or in-person to the County Board of Elections at 300 Halls Mill Road in Freehold or at assigned Polling Place.

Monmouth County Secure Ballot Dropbox Locations:

LocationAddressEntry
1Aberdeen Municipal Building1 Aberdeen Square
Aberdeen, NJ 07747
2Allentown Borough Hall8 North Main Street
Allentown, NJ 08501
3Asbury Park City Hall1 Municipal Plaza
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
City Council Chambers (Bangs Avenue Entrance)
4Borough of Belmar Municipal Building601 Main Street
Belmar, NJ 07719
5Eatontown Borough Municipal Building47 Broad Street
Eatontown, NJ 07724
Rear Entrance
6Board of Elections Office300 Halls Mill Road
Freehold, NJ 07728
Side Entrance
7Hazlet Agency – NJ Motor Vehicle Commission1374 Highway 36
Hazlet, NJ 07730
Airport Plaza
8Howell Township Municipal Building4567 Route 9 North
Howell, NJ 07731
Rear Entrance
9Long Branch City Hall344 Broadway
Long Branch, NJ 07740
10Manalapan Township Municipal Building120 County Road 522
Manalapan, NJ 07726
11Middletown Municipal Building1 Kings Highway
Middletown Township, NJ 07748
12Croydon Hall900 Leonardville Road
Leonardo, NJ 07737
13Neptune Township Municipal Building25 Neptune Boulevard
Neptune, NJ 07753
Library Entrance
14Ocean Township Town Hall399 Monmouth Road
Oakhurst, NJ 07755
15Red Bank Borough Municipal Building90 Monmouth Street
Red Bank, NJ 07701
16Rumson Borough Hall80 East River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
17Wall Township Municipal Building2700 Allaire Road
Wall, NJ 07719

Vote-By-Mail Drop Box Arrives In Allentown

September 22, 2020

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Allentown resident told MidJersey.News that around 11 pm last night a delivery crew installed a Vote-By-Mail Drop Box in front of Allentown at Borough Hall on Main Street. There are currently 17 Vote-By-Mail Drop Box locations for Monmouth County, this is the furthest west serving Western Monmouth County.

A current list of Vote-By-Mail Drop Box locations for Monmouth County can be found here.

Vote-By-Mail Drop Box Locations

Pursuant to State law, the November 3, 2020 General Election will be conducted primarily by Mail-In Ballot in New Jersey.

If you wish to place your Mail-In Ballot in a secure drop box, below are the locations throughout the County which will be available starting the week of September 15. Addresses in the list below are clickable and will bring up Google Maps.

Voters can drop their voted Mail-In Ballot into these Board of Elections Drop Boxes anywhere in the County up until 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020. You do not have to be a resident of the town where the drop box is located. Be advised that these drop boxes are under video surveillance and are monitored by the Monmouth County Board of Elections, which can be reached at 732-431-7802.

For more information about the General Election process, click here.

LocationAddressEntry
1Aberdeen Municipal Building1 Aberdeen Square
Aberdeen, NJ 07747
2Allentown Borough Hall8 North Main Street
Allentown, NJ 08501
3Asbury Park City Hall1 Municipal Plaza
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
City Council Chambers (Bangs Avenue Entrance)
4Borough of Belmar Municipal Building601 Main Street
Belmar, NJ 07719
5Eatontown Borough Municipal Building47 Broad Street
Eatontown, NJ 07724
Rear Entrance
6Board of Elections Office300 Halls Mill Road
Freehold, NJ 07728
Side Entrance
7Hazlet Agency – NJ Motor Vehicle Commission1374 Highway 36
Hazlet, NJ 07730
Airport Plaza
8Howell Township Municipal Building4567 Route 9 North
Howell, NJ 07731
Rear Entrance
9Long Branch City Hall344 Broadway
Long Branch, NJ 07740
10Manalapan Township Municipal Building120 County Road 522
Manalapan, NJ 07726
11Middletown Municipal Building1 Kings Highway
Middletown Township, NJ 07748
12Croydon Hall900 Leonardville Road
Leonardo, NJ 07737
13Neptune Township Municipal Building25 Neptune Boulevard
Neptune, NJ 07753
Library Entrance
14Ocean Township Town Hall399 Monmouth Road
Oakhurst, NJ 07755
15Red Bank Borough Municipal Building90 Monmouth Street
Red Bank, NJ 07701
16Rumson Borough Hall80 East River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
17Wall Township Municipal Building2700 Allaire Road
Wall, NJ 07719

Sayreville Man Admits Role In Area Heroin Conspiracy Distribution In Monmouth and Middlesex Counties

September 22, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man today admitted that he conspired to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin as part of a conspiracy responsible for distributing significant quantities of heroin and cocaine in the Bayshore area of Monmouth and Middlesex counties, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Daniel McHugh, 50, of Sayreville, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti via videoconference to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. McHugh also admitted to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine and possessing with intent to distribute a quantity of crack cocaine.

Today’s guilty plea follows a coordinated takedown in November 2018 of 15 defendants charged by complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. To date, 13 defendants have pleaded guilty, including supplier Gregory Gillens and lead defendant Guy Jackson. Gillens was sentenced on Sept. 8, 2020, to 10 years in prison. Jackson is awaiting sentencing.

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

From May 2017 to November 2018, McHugh and others engaged in a narcotics conspiracy that operated in the Raritan Bayshore region of Middlesex and northern Monmouth counties. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin and cocaine, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that McHugh regularly obtained heroin and cocaine for further distribution from Jackson. Some of the heroin distributed by the conspiracy contained fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid.

On the date of his arrest, McHugh gave consent to search his residence. During that search, law enforcement recovered quantities of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine intended for further distribution.

The heroin conspiracy count to which McHugh pleaded guilty carries a statutory mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison, and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 20, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited Special Agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force (including representatives from the Bradley Beach Police Department, Brick Police Department, Howell Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Toms River Police Department, and Union Beach Police Department) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; Special Agents of the FBI, Philadelphia Division, Scranton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll; the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent; the Matawan Police Department, under the direction of Chief Thomas J. Falco, Jr.; the Holmdel Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Mioduszewski; the Highlands Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Burton; the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni; the Old Bridge Police Department, under the direction of Chief William A. Volkert; the Keansburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief James K. Pigott; the Hazlet Police Department, under the direction of Chief Philip Meehan; and the Aberdeen Police Department, under the direction of Chief Richard A. Derechailo, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

The charges and allegations against the two remaining defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

20-308 

Defense counsel: James R. Murphy Esq., Princeton, New Jersey

Operation “Screen Capture” 21 Alleged Sex Offenders Busted

Collaborative operation targeting offenders sexually exploiting children online was launched in response to spike in cyber threats to children during COVID 19 pandemic. Attorney General warns parents and offers tips to keep children safe as they return to virtual learning, with more screen time and, in many cases, no in-person teacher supervision

August 26, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced arrests of 21 individuals who are charged with sexually exploiting children online. The 19 men, one woman, and one juvenile male were arrested in “Operation Screen Capture,” a collaborative operation launched in response to a dramatic increase in reports of potential threats to children from online predators during the COVID pandemic.

Three defendants – two men and one woman – are charged with sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault children. Eighteen are charged with endangering the welfare of children for possession and/or distribution of child sexual abuse materials, including, in many cases, child rape videos.

Cyber tips to the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force about potential threats to children online – including tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) – have increased up to 50 percent in New Jersey since the COVID emergency began in March, compared to the same time frame last year. Many cases in this operation stemmed from cyber tips from NCMEC, but others involved undercover chat investigations where perpetrators were attempting to meet children or other individuals online in order to sexually assault children.

Operation Screen Capture was led by the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, ICAC Task Force, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office.The New Jersey State Parole Board assisted with arrests and search warrants.

The arrests, made between March 18 and July 31, 2020 include the following cases:

Aaron Craiger. Craiger, 34, of Oklahoma, a registered sex offender, was arrested on March 18 at a motel in Atlantic City after he allegedly traveled from Oklahoma to meet two men who offered him access to underage girls for sex. In reality, the defendant had communicated with undercover investigators from the New Jersey State Police and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations. One investigator pretended to offer his 12-year-old daughter for sex, and the other, his girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter.Craiger, who had condoms with him when arrested, also allegedly possessed and distributed child sexual abuse materials.

Jason Berry. Berry, 40, of Keansburg, N.J., allegedly sexually exploited a 14-year-old girl he met on social media, manipulating her into sending him naked pictures of herself engaging in sexual acts. He allegedly had the girl carve his initials into her legs. He then tricked the girl into revealing her mother’s phone number and sent those images to her mother.

Alize Tejada. Tejada, 21, of Newark, N.J., allegedly sexually assaulted a very young child.She allegedly videotaped herself performing a sexual act on the child and posted the video on social media.

“Reports to our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force of potential predatory conduct against children are up as much as 50 percent during the COVID emergency as homebound children, starved for outside contact, spend more time on their devices, and opportunistic sexual predators target them online,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We urge parents to be vigilant about the online activities of their children and warn children that the strangers they meet on popular social media sites, apps and gaming platforms may be out to harm them. We will continue to work overtime to arrest child predators and those who participate in the cruel exploitation of children by sharing child sexual abuse materials.”

In past cases, the ICAC Task Force has arrested child predators who used the following chat apps: Kik, Skout, Grindr, Whisper, Omegle, Tinder, Chat Avenue, Chat Roulette, Wishbone, Live.ly, Musical.ly, Paltalk, Yubo, Hot or Not, Down, and Tumblr.Arrests also have been made involving the gaming apps Fortnite, Minecraft, and Discord.Attorney General Grewal urged parents to familiarize themselves with these and other apps and warn their children about sharing information with strangers.

“As children return to virtual learning this fall, they will be spending even more time online, in many cases without any in-person teacher supervision or peer contact,” Attorney General Grewal added. “This may make them even more vulnerable. We want parents to be aware of the dangers— and, as we highlighted in a recent virtual town hall with the State Police and Department of Children and Families, we want everyone to know that there are resources to help children who are struggling with social isolation or who may be victims of trauma or abuse.”

Virtual Town Hall: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMNHjMhVbYA&t=6s

Resources: www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases20/082620-DCF-Operation-Screen-Capture-Resources.jpg

“Operation Screen Capture is a great example of how law enforcement in New Jersey works together seamlessly through the ICAC Task Force to confront the threat of online predators, raise awareness among parents, and protect our children,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Whether we are running down tips from NCMEC or conducting undercover chats, we use our cyber expertise each day to apprehend those who use the internet to harm, abuse, and exploit children.”

“Our children are at an increased risk to fall victim to opportunistic online predators during this pandemic, as students have no choice but to turn to their devices to connect with friends and family and in many cases to prepare for remote learning,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The State Police will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, and we will be unrelenting in our efforts to keep our children safe, but we cannot do it alone. We urge all parents and guardians to have conversations with your children about the dangers that exist on the internet and to closely monitor their online activity.”

“The internet has been instrumental in allowing our children to continue their educations remotely during this pandemic.However, it has also been used by the very worst among us to exploit them as well,” said Jason Molina, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Newark. “These various cases, which involve both teenagers and very young children, show the level of depravity of these predators.Some pursue physical contact initiated via online introductions, in some cases even crossing state lines, while others exclusively pursue these innocents online. In either case, the psychological damage to children is long lasting.In the face of that, only a very united effort of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials, along with the hypervigilant efforts of parents to monitor their children’s online activity, can be effective to stop them and bring them to justice.”

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said, “More and more, all of us look to the internet for remote connections because of work, school, or simply to surf the web, but this operation is a reminder that there are individuals who use the internet to traffic sexually explicit images and videos of children. We are proud to be part of this effort to identify, arrest, and aggressively prosecute those who are exploiting our children and our increased reliance on virtual connections by accessing and sharing illegal images and videos.”

“It cannot be emphasized strongly enough how important it is for parents to become educated about cyber threats, and take measures to protect their children from becoming victimized,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said. “Our way of life has been altered by this pandemic. It used to be that kids would play outside, and parents would check on them every so often to make sure they were safe. But the dangers they face have become much more direct now that they are spending a greater amount of time online than they ever have before. These threats are not readily visible, and effortlessly gain access to our homes, posing a very real risk to our children. We will continue to do everything legally allowable to find and punish those who are responsible.”

“It is a disturbing reality that predators are using the pandemic as an opportunity to target children as their online activity increases,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill Mayer. “This operation, and the resulting arrests, show that law enforcement agencies in New Jersey and the ICAC Task Force are working diligently together to identify, catch, and arrest these individuals.My message to anyone out there who is using the internet to target children— we are watching and you will be caught. Parents need to be mindful that as we enter a school year with remote learning, there will be predators online looking for potential victims. We encourage all parents to take this time to talk to their children about internet safety, even if you’ve had this discussion before. Keeping our children safe is something that can never be discussed too much.”

“Crimes against children are among the most disturbing, yet often the toughest to prosecute,” said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II. “This joint effort underscores the willingness of law enforcement at all levels to work together to protect our most vulnerable from those who would use the internet and other means to prey upon children. In this age, when so many children are relying on computers for their education, entertainment and social life, we are committed to make the internet community as safe as possible.”

“The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office eagerly participated in this joint law enforcement effort focusing on individuals who felt our attention to their bad acts targeting vulnerable children was diverted,” said Acting Gloucester County Prosecutor Christine Hoffman. “To the contrary, we remain committed and vigilant, and never allow geography or jurisdictional boundaries to slow our collective efforts. We’ll continue to use every investigative tool available to identify, apprehend and convict those who prey on our children.”

“The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office was proud to take part in Operation Screen Capture with our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force partners,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri. “The success of the operation highlights how important it is that parents and guardians know that these online predators are out there, especially as remote learning begins again and children spend more and more time on their screens. And it’s just as important that anyone who would use the internet as a tool to harm our kids knows that my office will continue to use every resource at its disposal to identify, investigate, and arrest you before you have the chance to do it.”

“The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office welcomed the opportunity to participate in Operation Screen Capture as a member of the ICAC Task Force,” said Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone. “This statewide investigation illustrates the fine work and collaboration of many law enforcement agencies in New Jersey. These agencies are dedicated to protecting our communities, especially our children. We thank all of the participating agencies.”

“Our relationship with ICAC has proved to be vital in protecting and safeguarding children from sexual predators,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer. “We will continue to collaborate with all of our law enforcement partners to do everything we can to root out those individuals that prey on our children. To that end, it is imperative for all parents to keep an eye on the online activities of their children.”

“The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office was a proud participant in Operation Screen Capture,” said Sussex County Prosecutor Francis A. Koch. “This statewide operation demonstrates the dedicated collaboration of all law enforcement agencies in New Jersey to proactively protect all children. As important as today’s announcement of the arrests of these defendants is, the message to parents and children to be even more vigilant and guarded while online is equally important. Today, children are required to have an increased online presence that subjects them to predators looking to take advantage of them. We therefore ask all parents and guardians to take an even greater role in their children’s online activities. We in law enforcement pledge to continue to commit ourselves to do all we can to help protect all children and to root out the despicable predators preying on them.”

Craiger, Berry, and Tejada are being prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice.They were ordered detained in jail pending trial.The Division of Criminal Justice is also prosecuting six defendants charged with possessing and/or distributing child sexual abuse materials.The 12 other defendants are being prosecuted by the nine county prosecutors’ offices.

The 21 defendants arrested in “Operation Screen Capture” were charged as follows:

1. Aaron Craiger, 34, of Oklahoma. Gas station attendant.Arrested March 18.Two Counts of Attempted Aggravated Sexual Assault (2nd degree), Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree), Two Counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (3rd degree), Two Counts of Attempted Distribution of Marijuana (4th degree), Possession of Marijuana (Disorderly Persons Offense).

2. Jason Berry, 40, of Keansburg, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested June 18.Manufacturing Child Pornography (1st degree), Sexual Assault (2nd degree), Child Abuse (2nd degree), Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Theft by Extortion (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

3. Alize Tejada, 21, of Newark, N.J. Babysitter.Arrested July 15.Aggravated Sexual Assault (1st degree), Manufacturing Child Pornography (1st degree).

4. Michael Gilpin, 42, of Union Beach, N.J. Pipe fitter.Arrested July 26.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

5. Raymond Radziewicz, 53, of Bloomfield, N.J. Former teaching assistant at child care center who was terminated as a result of this arrest.Arrested July 7.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

6. Brett Warfield, 21, of Carney’s Point, N.J. Private security guard.Arrested July 15.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

7. Loic Atse, 18, of Aberdeen, N.J. College student.Arrested July 23.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

8. Donovan Falconer, 25, of Plainsboro, N.J. Employee of marketing firm.Arrested June 25.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

9. Michael Ascough, 39, Pompton, N.J. Retail employee.Arrested July 5.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

10. Joseph Benestante, 65, of Bergenfield, N.J. Retired.Arrested July 21.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree).

11. Shawn Daily, 45, of Browns Mills, N.J. Laborer.Arrested June 12.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

12. Roy Dantz, 71, of Mount Laurel, N.J. Retired.Arrested June 18.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

13. Christopher Crispino, 45, of Bellmawr, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 31.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

14. Dwayne McCormick, 25, of Orange, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 8.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

15. Juvenile Male, 15, of Gloucester County, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 22.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

16. Julian Ceballos, 31, of Hamilton (Mercer County), N.J. Restaurant worker.Arrested June 26.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

17. Timothy McMahon, 46, of Piscataway, N.J. Electrician.Arrested May 21.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

18. Edward Kross, 66, of Carteret, N.J. Part-time firefighting instructor.Arrested May 28.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

19. Henry Ziolkowski, 66, of Toms River, N.J. Surgery technician.Arrested July 10.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

20. Kevin Carrierri, 34, of Toms River, N.J. Chef.Arrested July 10.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

21. Matthew Marzullo, 20, of Hopatcong, N.J. Restaurant food server.Arrested July 1.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Attorney General Grewal thanked the attorneys, detectives, and staff in the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau who worked on this operation under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter, Deputy Bureau Chief Lilianne Daniel, and DCJ Deputy Director Robert Czepiel.

He thanked ICAC Task Force Commander Lt. John Pizzuro of the New Jersey State Police ICAC Unit and the detectives of the ICAC Unit, as well as the New Jersey State Police TEAMS and K-9 Units.

Attorney General Grewal thanked U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, Newark and Cherry Hill, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina and Assistant SAC Richard Reinhold.

He thanked the New Jersey State Parole Board, under the leadership of Chairman Samuel J. Plumeri Jr., for its valuable assistance with arrests and search warrants.

Finally, Attorney General Grewal thanked all of the prosecutors, detectives, investigators, and staff of the following county prosecutors’ offices, which participated as members of the ICAC Task Force:

  • Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office

Half A Century Later, Hero Medic Finally Presented Long-promised Silver Star

July 18, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Today U.S Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) presented the Silver Star to Vietnam War combat Army medic and Monmouth County resident, Bart Fabian.

    This is the second Silver Star awarded to “Doc” Fabian, a highly decorated veteran who received his first Silver Star for his heroism during an ambush by the North Vietnamese on January 11, 1969. He has previously been awarded two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and an Army Commendation Medal (ACM) with Valor.

    “Bart ‘Doc’ Fabian is a hero for all ages, earning the Silver Star not once, but twice. He routinely went above and beyond the call, protecting injured soldiers who were under attack,” Smith said. “Mr. Fabian’s actions on April 13, 1969, which account for the second Silver Star, are truly courageous, heroic and the mark of a natural leader.

Smith added, “How does a man under gunfire find that kind of grit to do something absolutely astonishing? We are talking about a man who put his own life at risk—repeatedly—to defend injured soldiers who were being targeted by the enemy. The record shows that Doc Fabian saved 10 U.S. soldiers, and stopped two soldiers who were trying to kill wounded GIs. In an era when people admire fictional superheroes and Hollywood stars portraying heroes, Doc Fabian is a genuine uncontested hero.”

    After over two years of Smith working with the Army, the Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy ordered Fabian be recognized “For gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the United States” while serving in his outfit, Troop A, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, II Field Force Vietnam.

   Recounting that fateful April day, Mr. Fabian said the battle raged on for an hour and a half. He lost six from his troop, including one of his closest buddies, and 19 in total, including the other medic. “We got beat up pretty bad that day,” Mr. Fabian said. “It was a bad day for the good guys.”

   The day after the battle, his commander said he would be recommended for the Silver Star. But it never came. “I decided to forget about it,” he said. “I didn’t want to promote myself. It was a bad day. The next day we were right back in it.” That changed in 2018 at a reunion with fellow veterans who urged him to seek the medal.

   A family member contacted Smith and asked him to help look into the matter. Smith helped coordinate eyewitness statements from Sgt. John J. Sorich III, Sgt. Joseph L. Coopet Jr. and Lt. Col. Richard A. Belcher.

   The Silver Star is awarded to a person who, while serving in the U.S. Army, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force. The required gallantry must have been performed with marked distinction.

   Members of the awards board unanimously recommended approval, some making handwritten notations of Mr. Fabian’s actions.

   Wrote Lt. Gen. John W. Woodmansee Jr., who also saw combat in Vietnam, “‘Doc’ Fabian joins the illustrious list of medics who risk their lives saving others. …The award of the Silver Star is certainly deserved. …On 13 April 1969 he saved numerous lives in the middle of a battle… an incredible display of courage and competence. When we sing the National Anthem, we are singing about those ‘Doc’ Fabians in our ranks.”

 Brig. Gen John W. Nicholson (RET) said, “He treated more than 10 wounded soldiers and recovered them and their KIA buddies. He voluntarily performed these heroic and life-saving actions while 19 fellow U.S. soldiers were killed in the same action. …His bravery was fearless, determined and voluntary, despite desperate odds… I highly recommend approval of this award.”

   Lt. Gen. Thomas Griffin determined that Mr. Fabian’s “action on 13 April 1969 absolutely meet the standard for this award… His repeated exposure to enemy fire while rescuing his fellow soldiers—and engaging the enemy—over a long period of time—are well above the call of duty. I wholeheartedly recommended approval!”

   Said Maj. Gen. Leroy Newton Suddath Jr. (RET), “This is the best documentation I have ever seen.”

Another medal in ‘Doc’ Fabian’s future?

   “Perhaps we are not finished honoring the life and heroic acts of Doc Fabian,” Smith said, noting several of the general officers who reviewed and approved the Silver Star for the 13 April 1969 action, felt he might be entitled to an even higher medal. “Two of the general officers suggested he might be deserving of the Distinguished Service Cross. Without a doubt, his actions were extraordinary heroism.”


Aberdeen Man 58, Arrested In Jamesburg On Several Charges

June 16, 2020

JAMESBURG, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The Jamesburg Police Department investigating a child luring incident found the following:

**********ARREST NOTIFICATION**********

On June 15th, 2020 The Jamesburg Police Department received a call in reference to a possible child luring incident in the area of East Railroad Ave and Franklin Street. After speaking with the caller, Jamesburg officers located Spencer Pitt, 58, from Aberdeen New Jersey located in Green acres Park near the children’s playground area.

Pitt was highly intoxicated and combative toward officers. Pitt was placed under arrest for disorderly conduct. During the course of the arrest, Pitt assaulted a police officer and physically resisted arrest. Pitt was also in possession of a knife.

During processing at police HQ, Pitt spit on a police officer and refused to be finger printed. Pitt also made threats to kill the officers involved in the arrest.

Pitt was charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication, littering, resisting arrest, assault on police, possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, obstruction, terroristic threats, and refusing to be finger printed.

The public is reminded that all subjects arrested by the Jamesburg Police Department are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

Chief James J. Craparotta