Category: Asbury Park

Governor Murphy Signs Legislative Package to Address New Jersey’s Opioid Epidemic

July 2, 2021

ASBURY PARK, NJ (MONMOUTH)—Reaffirming his commitment to end New Jersey’s opioid epidemic, Governor Phil Murphy today signed a comprehensive legislative package into law to address the state’s opioid crisis through overdose prevention and recovery resilience. The six bills focus on overdose prevention by expanding low-barrier access to naloxone and bridges to medication assisted treatment; strengthens public health data; and builds resiliency among children and families impacted by the opioid crisis.

“Over the last three years, my Administration, alongside our partners in the Legislature and many passionate advocates, has worked to meaningfully combat the opioid crisis that has held our state in its grip for far too long,” said Governor Murphy. “We have worked tirelessly to erase the stigma associated with opioid use disorder and people who use drugs, close gaps in treatment, expand access and use of life-saving medicines like naloxone, and support the work of syringe exchange programs and harm reduction centers. The fight against the opioid epidemic has required a focus on harm reduction by providing safe and compassionate access points to care and by securing funding for vital programs and recovery services. By signing these bills today, we are strengthening the foundation of these critical resources and programs, keeping families together, and furthering our commitment to saving lives and ending the opioid epidemic in New Jersey.”

“The opioid epidemic is a national public health crisis that devastates families every day,” said U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone. “We know that harm reduction is critical to saving lives and getting the help individuals who suffer from opioid use disorder need to combat this epidemic. As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I’ve helped pass legislation in Congress to address this crisis and will continue to work at the federal level to save lives. I’m proud to join Governor Murphy today as we take another step forward in expanding access to treatments and lifesaving medications in our state.”

Governor Murphy signed the following six bills into law:

S3491 (Vitale, Lagana, Vainieri Huttle/Verrelli, Benson) Revises and expands authorization for any person or entity to obtain, distribute, and administer opioid antidotes.

S3803 (Vitale, Schepisi/Conaway, Vainieri Huttle, Verrelli) Permits certain paramedics to administer buprenorphine.

A5595 (Verrelli, Benson, Holley/Gopal, Lagana) Requires Division of Consumer Affairs to publish retail price of certain opioid antidotes.

A5597 (Conaway, Jimenez, Speight/Vitale, Turner) Permits school districts to administer student health surveys after prior written notification to parents and legal guardians.

S3814 (Madden/Conaway, Mosquera, Tully) Requires DCF or court to consider placement of children with relatives or kinship guardians when making placement decision; makes changes to certain standards for initiating petitions to terminate parental rights.

A5703 (Armato, Verrelli, Conaway/Addiego, Lagana) Requires certain health insurers, Medicaid, NJ FamilyCare, SHBP, and SEHBP to cover naloxone without imposing prior authorization requirements.

“I would like to thank the Governor for signing these crucial and life-saving bills into law today,” said Senator Joseph Vitale. “Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with opioids being the most common drug, causing approximately 70 percent of all drug overdose deaths. Many of these lives could have been saved with the use of opioid antidotes, however; there is currently only a limited amount of individuals authorized to administer these antidotes. These new laws will expand who can deliver antidotes to a larger group of individuals, which will be crucial in saving countless lives from overdose.”

“This bill keeps reunification the focus by removing barriers to relatives becoming Kinship Legal Guardians so that the child’s relationship with their birth parents can be preserved,” said Senator Fred Madden. “Kinship relationships increase the emotional well-being of a child and reduce their number of placements in foster care. This legislation will allow case precedent to better reflect new research.”

“It’s important that we have accurate data on the social, emotional and physical well-being of our students,” said Senator Shirley Turner. “This legislation will help to provide that, by ensuring we are allowing as many students as possible to participate in these valuable surveys. I am grateful to see the Governor signing this measure into law and I look forward to seeing the impact it has on our public health initiatives.”

“In 2020 alone, New Jersey had thousands of suspected opioid overdose deaths,” said Senator Joseph Lagana. “It is evident that when we increase the availability of opioid antidotes, we can equip ourselves with the resources needed to greatly diminish the amount of deaths we have each year. Additionally, having the prices of these antidotes readily available will encourage those suffering from addiction to seek out antidotes that can be life-saving in dire times. I commend the Governor for signing this bill package today and I know we will save more lives because of it.”

“Complete and utter transparency between the Division of Consumer Affairs and consumers is essential,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “Antidotes like Narcan save lives and its accessibility can be the difference between a fatal drug overdose and someone’s resuscitation. This legislation will ensure that consumers can identify which opioid antidotes they can afford and encourage them to purchase one to keep on them in case of emergency.”

“Naloxone is crucial in treating an opioid overdose in the event of an emergency,” said Senator Dawn Addiego. “When properly administered, the drug has been proven to significantly decrease the likelihood of death following an overdose, saving countless lives to date. It is imperative that we make this life-saving medication as accessibly as possible to our residents.”

“As a doctor, I know just how important it is to prepare for and respond to medical emergencies patients may encounter,” said Assemblyman Herb Conaway. “With thousands of lives lost to overdoses each year, we need a system in place to help residents struggling with substance use disorders who may be at risk for overdoses.”

“Having immediate access to an opioid antidote when helping someone experiencing an overdose can mean the difference between life and death,” said Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli. “It might be too late if a patient has to wait for treatment until they reach the hospital, which is why we must improve access to these medicines in our state.”

 “Every life lost to an overdose is a tragedy that might have been avoided with the right resources and support,” said Assemblyman John Armato. “We must do everything in our power to help prevent the needless loss of life caused by drug overdoses throughout our state.”

“Due to the addictive nature of these drugs, unfortunately it is quite possible for someone who overdosed once to accidentally overdose again,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle. “We must take a holistic approach to combating overdoses by also treating opioid use disorder itself with medicines such as buprenorphine.”

“Studies have shown that children often fare better when placed with relatives rather than someone they do not know in foster care,” said Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera. “More residents with happier, stable childhoods will help reduce the number of people throughout our state who struggle with substance use disorder.”

“A safe and loving home environment helps pave the way for children to lead healthier lives,” said Assemblyman Christopher Tully. “This legislation provides solutions to one of the key factors contributing to substance use disorder by ensuring more children end up with family or friends who know them and can care for them when their parents cannot.”

“When you consider the prevalence of overdoses in our state and just how effective opioid antidotes can be in those situations, it is clear we must do everything we can to make this medication widely available,” said Assemblyman Daniel Benson. “Allowing anyone to obtain opioid antidotes and give them out or utilize them in emergency situations is one way we can help get this life-saving medicine into the hands of the many residents who need it.”

“Opioid antidotes save lives – it’s as simple as that,” said Assemblyman Jamel Holley. “There can be no confusion about pricing and accessibility when it comes to helping our community members acquire these medicines.”

“With drug use sometimes beginning as young as 12-years-old, it is vital our State gathers information on the various health issues affecting our students,” said Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez. “Knowing just how many children have already been exposed to harmful substances will help us better understand the scope of the issue and how to address it before it becomes more severe in adulthood.”

“We need to know more about the health challenges facing New Jersey students today,” said Assemblywoman Shanique Speight. “Understanding how many students are actively using harmful substances will make it easier for us to reach out and provide support to the children in our communities who need our help.”

“Governor Murphy and the Legislature are committed to saving lives by reaching those in need and removing barriers to treatment, and that includes making life-saving opioid antidotes as accessible as possible,” said New Jersey Department of Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “We’ve worked to get the opioid overdose antidote naloxone into as many hands as possible, distributing 62,000 free doses to residents at more than 300 pharmacies and giving more than 70,000 free naloxone doses to police, EMS, homeless shelters, libraries, reentry organizations and county mobile outreach units. Naloxone saves lives, and these new laws will help reinforce these efforts to get it into as many hands as possible in as many ways as possible.”

“Today, New Jersey is making a strong and lasting statement with several new laws that support substance use treatment, recovery and family connections,” said New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer. “Through our work in child welfare, we know that substance use and addiction are often underlying factors of family separation, with resulting trauma that can have long term, negative effects on everyone involved. This new law will help create placement stability for children who are removed due to a caregiver’s opioid abuse, and will ensure that the preference for kinship placements is preserved.”

“Today’s actions further demonstrate Governor Murphy’s commitment to end the opioid epidemic in New Jersey. By removing barriers to life-saving treatments like naloxone, and addressing the impact of addiction on families, these new laws will make it easier for people battling with substance abuse to receive the help they need and will ultimately save lives,” said New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride.

“New Jersey remains resolute in its commitment to ending the addiction crisis that continues to claim lives in communities across New Jersey,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “These bills bolster our efforts by expanding access to life-saving medications and giving those on the front lines additional resources to fight this epidemic.”

“Taken together, these bills provide powerful tools to address the overdose epidemic,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Fundamentally rooted in science, compassion and harm reduction, these bills will help reverse the tide of the overdose epidemic, which has robbed us of too many people we love. These bills come at a crucial time, especially as we worry about an uptick in overdoses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Breaking down barriers to affordable high-quality healthcare is the hallmark of what we do at the VNACJ Community Health Center,” said Christopher R. Rinn, CEO of the VNACJ Community Health Center. “Today’s initiatives not only underscore Governor Murphy’s ongoing commitment to end the opioid epidemic but also empower those at the community level to improve access to a whole host addiction services. We are especially grateful for the support of our Medication Assistant Therapy (MAT) programs. The opioid epidemic continues to impact thousands of lives in the communities we serve. Thanks to the Governor’s and the Legislature’s leadership, we are saving lives and empowering patients onto the journey of recovery.”

“Expanding New Jersey’s naloxone standing order will make it much easier for people who use drugs to access this life-saving medication,” said Jenna Mellor, Executive Director, New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition. “When naloxone is widely available, people who are most likely to witness an overdose can act as first responders and save the life of a friend or family member. This legislation will get naloxone into as many hands as possible, which is one of the few proven ways to prevent overdose deaths. We sincerely thank Governor Murphy, Senator Vitale, and Assemblywoman Vaineri Huttle for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to finding new ways to expand harm reduction services across the Garden State.”

“The bills signed today ensure that cost, location, and stigma never stand in the way of naloxone access for people who use drugs, people who used to use drugs, and our loved ones,” said Caitlin O’Neill, Director of Harm Reduction Services and co-founder, New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition. “Having naloxone on-hand is critical to keeping one another alive, and this bill makes widespread naloxone distribution possible. I commend Governor Murphy, Senator Vitale, and Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle for responding with true leadership when people who use drugs when we told you we need widespread community naloxone access to survive, and I look forward to continuing to expand harm reduction services throughout the Garden State.” 





Monmouth County Father and Son Sentenced for Orchestrating Scheme that Defrauded Life Insurance Companies of Over $4 Million

February 10, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

ASBURY PARK/HIGHLANDS (MONMOUTH)– Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that two Monmouth County men have been sentenced for engaging in a fraudulent scheme, pursuant to which they unlawfully issued free life insurance policies to individuals and recouped more than $4 million in fraudulent commissions on those policies from various insurance companies.

Frank Pescatore, 73, of Asbury Park, was sentenced to three years in State prison by Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas in Monmouth County on Monday. Pescatore pleaded guilty to second-degree insurance fraud on December 3, 2020. He was sentenced as a third-degree offender under a plea agreement.

“Frank Pescatore will serve time in prison for his lead role in a scheme that defrauded the insurance system of millions for his personal gain,” said Attorney General Grewal. “His crimes not only involved issuing policies that should not have been issued and that lapsed prematurely, but are also the type of offenses that contribute to higher insurance costs in the long run for all of us. This sentence sends a strong deterrent message that we will hold accountable those that cheat the system.”

Pescatore’s son, Evan Pescatore, 38, of Highlands, a former life insurance agent, was sentenced to three-years of non-custodial probation on Monday for participating in the scheme. He pleaded guilty to third-degree insurance fraud on December 3, 2020.

In pleading guilty, the two men admitted to defrauding insurance companies in a scheme to provide high-value life insurance policies at no cost to applicants in order to obtain commissions from the insurance companies. Eighteen policies – with face values totaling $61.5 million – were caused to be issued by eight insurance companies in the scheme.

This process of providing applicants and insureds with an inducement to apply for life insurance policies by paying their premiums, known as “rebating,” is prohibited by the insurance industry, as well as by New Jersey law.

The FBI estimates that the total cost of non-medical insurance fraud is more than $40 billion per year, costing the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 per year in the form of increased premiums.

“My office will continue to pursue these cases to protect the integrity of New Jersey’s insurance industry,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson. “These crimes affect every policyholder who must pay higher insurance costs to cover the losses suffered by insurance carriers.”

Deputy Attorney General Jennifer L. Menjivar represented the State at sentencing. Detectives Natalie Brotherston, Taryn Seidner, and Matthew Armstrong coordinated the investigation with assistance from analyst Kelly Celenza.

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



Asbury Park Teen Sentenced To 10 Years For Aggravated Assault In Shooting Near Brick Memorial High School In 2019

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on January 14, 2021, Alonzo Legrande, 18, of Asbury Park, was sentenced by the Honorable Wendel E. Daniels, P.J.Cr.P, to ten years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1).  This sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2., meaning that Legrande will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility.  Additionally, Judge Daniels sentenced Legrande to ten years NJSP relative to his previously entered guilty plea to Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a.  The sentences will run concurrently.  Legrande entered his guilty plea to both charges on September 17, 2020 before Judge Daniels.  Legrande’s guilty pleas were contemplated in connection with his voluntary waiver of the Family Court’s jurisdiction in this matter, and his further agreement to be charged and prosecuted as an adult in Criminal Court. 

On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at approximately 1:45 p.m., Brick Township Police were summoned to Brick Memorial High School for a report of a student who had sustained a gunshot wound.  Investigation revealed that the student was walking home from school with three friends when he was shot approximately one-quarter mile away from Brick Memorial; he then ran back to the school for help.  As a precaution, Brick Township Police and school officials locked down the high school as well as neighboring schools before determining there was no immediate danger to students.  The victim was treated at Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township and released.

As part of their investigation, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office reviewed video surveillance footage from nearby residences.  The video surveillance depicted Legrande, who was 17 years-old at the time, and Luis Rivas, who was also a juvenile, acting together and in support of one another in carrying out the shooting.  Further investigation revealed that Legrande was, in fact, the individual who fired the weapon.  He was apprehended on October 23, 2019, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center since his apprehension.  Rivas, who likewise agreed to be prosecuted as an adult, previously pled guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1), and was sentenced by Judge Daniels on October 2, 2020 to four years NJSP subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act.

“Our law enforcement partners at the local, county, state and federal levels displayed tremendous teamwork and cooperation in connection with this very thorough investigation,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.  “As a result of their exceptional efforts, both Rivas and Legrande been held accountable for their brazen lawlessness with these state prison sentences,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Chief Juvenile Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Pierro and Assistant Prosecutor Madeline Buczynski who handled the case on behalf of the State. Additionally, Prosecutor Billhimer is grateful for the hard work and persistence of all of the law enforcement agencies involved in securing this these state prison sentences for Rivas and Legrande:  Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit; Brick Township Police Department; Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit; Toms River Township Police Department; Lakewood Township Police Department; Bay Head Borough Police Department; Point Pleasant Beach Police Department; Asbury Park Police Department; Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit; Monmouth County Emergency Response Team; Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey State Police; New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center; and the United States Marshals Service. 


Hit And Run Investigation Involving A Pedestrian In Wall Township

January 4, 2021

WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On Sunday, January 3, 2021 at approximately 8:55 p.m., the Wall Township Police Department responded to the area of Belmar Boulevard and Birchwood Lane for a report of pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle.  The investigation revealed that the vehicle that struck the pedestrian left the scene prior to police arrival. 

The pedestrian, a 32 year old man from Asbury Park, was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune Township with serious injuries by the Wall Township Police Department Emergency Medical Services and paramedics from Hackensack-Meridian.  Glendola Fire Department also responded to the incident to provide scene support.

The incident is currently being investigated by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Team (“SCART”) and the Wall Township Police Department.  The Wall Township Police Department is asking anyone who may have witnessed the collision or may have any information that may aid in the investigation to contact Lieutenant Chad Clark at (732) 449-4500 ext. 1143 or cclark@wallpolice.org ; or Patrolman Megan Alexander at (732) 449-4500 ext. 1183 or malexander@wallpolice.org.

Monmouth County Man Charged With Being Felon in Possession of a Weapon

December 10, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER): A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man made his initial appearance today after being charged with illegally possessing a handgun, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Lashawn Alford, 27, of Asbury Park, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He appeared by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert and was detained pending a bail hearing.

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

On July 20, 2020, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detectives and Neptune City Police Officers responded to an apartment complex in Neptune City to conduct surveillance of suspected gang activity. Law enforcement officers observed Alford, a previously convicted felon, exit an apartment and get into the back of a car that drove out of the complex. Law enforcement knew Alford to be a member of the Queen Street II Bloods street gang and determined that Alford had an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Asbury Park. Law enforcement stopped the car and arrested Alford. A loaded Smith and Wesson, model M&P Compact, .22 caliber pistol was located on the floor of the car where Alford had been sitting.

The felon in possession of a firearm charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson in Newark; officers of the Neptune City Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Matthew Quagliato; and detectives of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, with the investigation leading to today’s charges.

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Matthews of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

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

Monmouth County Insurance Agent and his Father Plead Guilty to Insurance Fraud in Scheme to Provide Life Insurance Policies Free of Charge in Order to Collect Sales Commissions

December 3, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor announced that a Monmouth County insurance agent and his father pleaded guilty to engaging in a scheme that provided insurance applicants with free life insurance and caused various insurance companies to disburse more than $4 million in fraudulent commissions.

Frank Pescatore, 73, of Asbury Park, pleaded guilty to second-degree insurance fraud and his son, Evan Pescatore, 38, of Highlands, pleaded guilty to third-degree insurance fraud today before Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas in Monmouth County.

Under a plea agreement, the State will recommend that Frank Pescatore be sentenced as a third-degree offender to a three-year prison term. The State will recommend that Evan Pescatore be sentenced to a term of non-custodial probation under the terms of his plea agreement. Sentencings are scheduled for February 1, 2021.

“Using fraud and deceit to obtain payouts from insurance companies is a crime that undermines the integrity of the insurance industry and drives up costs for everyone,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We will continue to pursue these cases to bring violators to justice and send a message of deterrence to the public.

In pleading guilty, the two men admitted to defrauding insurance companies in a scheme to provide high-value life insurance policies at no cost to applicants in order to obtain commissions from the insurance companies. Eighteen policies – with face values totaling $61.5 million – were caused to be issued by eight insurance companies in the scheme.

This process of providing applicants/insureds with an inducement to apply for life insurance policies by paying their premiums, known as “rebating,” is prohibited by the insurance industry as well as state law.

“Rebating fraud violates the legitimate purpose of insurance by providing benefits to individuals through fraudulent and ill-gotten commissions, rebates, and free short-term insurance,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson. “The financial losses suffered by insurance carriers are passed on to honest policy holders in the form of higher premiums. My office is committed to investigating and putting a stop to this kind of criminal enterprise.”

Deputy Attorney General Jennifer L. Menjivar represented the State in the plea hearings. Detectives Natalie Brotherston, Taryn Seidner, and Matthew Armstrong coordinated the investigation with assistance from analyst Kelly Celenza.

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

Asbury Park Man Arrested For Attempted Child Luring

November 10, 2020

ASBURY PARK, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On November 6, Edgar Finol-Carrillo approached a minor and gave her a letter attempting to lure her to his residence to engage in sexual activity.   Shortly after receiving this letter, the Asbury Park Police Department was contacted and quickly apprehended the suspect.

Finol-Carrillo is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) in Freehold Township pending a detention hearing tentatively scheduled for November 12, 2020 before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon.

The investigation was the product of a joint investigation by members of the Asbury Park Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

Investigators are seeking additional information about Finol-Carrillo’s activities. Anyone with any information please contact Detective Charles Trucillo of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-431-7160 or Detective Daniel Savastano of the Asbury Park Police Department at 732-774-1300.

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

If convicted, the defendant is facing up to 10 years imprisonment on the Luring charge and up to 5 years imprisonment on the Endangering the Welfare of a Child charge.  In addition, he would be subject to Parole Supervision for Life and required to register under Megan’s Law.The case is assigned to Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Danielle Zanzuccki.

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


Several Charged In Asbury Park Shootings, 2 Facing Murder Charges

November 3, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Howell juvenile and an 18 year old from Asbury Park were charged in connection with a March 23, 2020 homicide at a Dewitt Avenue, Asbury Park residence, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.  The Howell juvenile is also facing an attempted murder charge stemming from an October 29, 2019 shooting at the same home. 

Jamir Styles, 18, with a last known address of Asbury Park, and the 16-year-old Juvenile from Howell were charged on Thursday, October 29, 2020 with first degree murder, first degree conspiracy to commit murder, second degree unlawful possession of a handgun, and second degree possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.

On March 23, 2020 at approximately 11:36 p.m., Asbury Park Police responded to a DeWitt Avenue residence after being notified about a male gunshot victim located inside the home. Asbury Park Police officers responded and located the 24 year old shooting victim, Christian Lahens, inside of his home.  Lifesaving efforts were made by emergency medical personnel both in the home and en route to Jersey Shore University Medical Center.  Despite these lifesaving efforts, however, Lahens was pronounced deceased at 12:16 a.m. on March 24, 2020.

The Asbury Park Police department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office launched a joint investigation into the homicide.  As a result of the months long investigation, police have determined that the juvenile and Jamir Styles were both armed with handguns when they approached the victim’s home.  After alerting those inside the dwelling to their presence, they both fired several shots into the home.  The victim was struck with gunfire and later died as a result.  In addition to the charges against the 16 year old and Jamir Styles, law enforcement officers have additionally charged 19 year old Jayson Freeman, of Lakewood, with hindering the apprehension of another, a third degree crime, based upon his actions in aiding the two shooters.

The March 23, 2020 incident was the second time in five months that the victim’s DeWitt Avenue family residence had been struck with gunfire.  On October 29, 2019, at approximately 9:17 p.m., Asbury Park Police responded to the home after receiving a report of shots fired.  Upon arrival, police determined that the residence had been struck with gunfire while several residents were inside.  This incident was also jointly investigated by the Asbury Park Police and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.  

While investigating the March homicide at the DeWitt Avenue residence, police were able to determine that two juveniles, a 16-year-old, and a 14-year-old, were present outside this same home on October 29, 2019 armed with a handgun.  During the October incident, while outside the residence, one of the juveniles produced a handgun and fired shots inside.  Unlike the March 2020 incident, however, no one was injured at that time.  The 16 year old juvenile charged with the March 2020 murder was one of the two juveniles involved in the October 29, 2019 incident.The two juveniles have been charged on juvenile complaints with first degree attempted murder, first degree conspiracy to commit murder and the second degree crimes of unlawful possession of a handgun and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose as a result of the October 29, 2019 incident.

Styles, a G-Shine Blood, was part of the criminal enterprise identified in Operation Golden State. The investigation revealed that Styles was involved in the distribution of CDS and well as the possession and use of illegal firearms. More specifically, the investigation revealed that Styles and the juvenile carried out the murder of Lahens as part of the ongoing effort to target rivals of the criminal enterprise.

As part of Styles’ arrest in Operation Golden State, he was also charged with first degree racketeering conspiracy, multiple weapons charges including second degree conspiracy to commit unlawful possession of a weapon, second degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and third degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance.

If convicted of murder, Styles faces 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of any sentence imposed beyond 30 years before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

If convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, Styles faces 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of any sentence imposed beyond 30 years before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

If convicted of the second degree weapons offenses, Styles faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in a New Jersey state prison on each count, subject to the provisions of the Graves Act which carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of one half of the custodial sentence imposed, or 42 months, whichever is greater.

Jayson Freeman faces up to five years in New Jersey State Prison if convicted of third degree hindering the apprehension of another. 

The juvenile faces a term of up to 10 years in Family Court if convicted of the March 23, 2020 Murder; however, the State has the ability to seek his waiver to the Superior Court, Law Division, where he would be subject to the same penalties as an adult upon conviction.

Both juveniles have been lodged in the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center, awaiting an appearance in Family Court.  Styles was apprehended in DeKalb County, Georgia by the U.S. Marshals Service.  Freeman was arrested on an outstanding warrant by the Wall Township Police.

Police are encouraging anyone with information about these incidents to contact Detective Terrence McGhee of the Asbury Park Police Department at (732) 774-1300 or Detective Stephen Cavendish of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at (800) 533-7443.

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.

29 People Facing Charges For Racketeering And Various Criminal Gang Activities

October 30, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An 8-month investigation into ongoing acts of gang criminality and organized street crime has led to charges against 29 people from Monmouth and Ocean counties for Racketeering, Conspiracy, Attempted Murder, drug and gun trafficking and Dogfighting, announced Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.  The probe revealed a power grab by a Bloods gang leader to consolidate his command of the gang’s criminal activities through violence, intimidation, illegal drug and gun sales, and the operation of a dogfighting ring. 

During the investigation titled “Operation Golden State,” law enforcement officers recovered numerous firearms, a vehicle used in criminal activity, various quantities of cocaine and marijuana, 12 canines used in the dogfighting operation, and other evidence related to the dogfighting operation.  The dogs are safe and currently being sheltered in an Ocean County animal facility.  Of the 29 people charged as part of this investigation, nine are facing charges of racketeering, five are facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder, two are facing charges as a leader of a dogfighting network, and four are facing dogfighting charges.

The joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, in cooperation with federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies, concluded that Xavier Reed, 30, of Hyson Road in Jackson Township, controlled a vast criminal enterprise operating in Asbury Park, Neptune Township, Freehold and Lakewood.  Reed, a/k/a “HS”, assembled a gang alliance consisting of G-Shine Bloods, 47 Neighborhood Crips and the Grape Street Crips that worked towards the unitary control of most illegal activity in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  Reed is currently incarcerated in the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark on unlawful gun possession charges.   

As a G-Shine Bloods leader, Reed was responsible for administering punishment, controlling the channels for generating revenue from various quantities of drug sales (heroin, cocaine, prescription pills and marijuana) and the administration of the dogfighting ring, where thousands of dollars were typically earned during a single dogfight.  These activities served as a means of funding the violent crime carried out by the group, and to further advance Reed’s power. 

Reed intensified his energies to maintain control over criminal activity in Monmouth County by intimidating individuals who were disloyal to him or the organization, and engaged in efforts to violently retaliate against former members of his organization and rivals.  Reed’s intimidation tactics included a conspiracy with others charged to murder a pair of Reed’s rivals and a member of a Lakewood-based G-Shine set, who resisted Reed’s efforts to consolidate that set into his organization. 

Reed was cognizant of the ongoing wars between rival criminal street gangs, namely the G-Shine Bloods and Grape Street Crips, and boasted about his assembly of members from different gangs that worked towards a common criminal goal, which he and others referred to the group as “Golden State” and would retaliate against anyone who disrespected them.

The criminal enterprise also possessed, transferred and sold weapons within their organized crime alliance, and were responsible for more than a dozen shooting incidents that have recently plagued Asbury Park, Long Branch, Tinton Falls, Keansburg and Neptune Township. 

The investigation further revealed Reed and his affiliates in other criminal street gangs, including Daishon Smith a/k/a “Beefy” of Asbury Park, were responsible for violent criminal activity throughout Asbury Park, Freehold Borough, and Neptune Township.

The dogfighting part of the enterprise worked in cooperation with out-of-state breeding facilities that focused on training dogs to kill and engaged in interstate dogfighting events.  In one instance, Reed lost $5,000 on one of his own dogs in a dogfight held in Philadelphia.  In another instance, Reed bragged about maintaining his fighting dogs by feeding them chickens and rabbits, remarking how much the dogs loved killing the animals.

The Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seized eight Pit Bull-type dogs in Monmouth and Ocean counties in February 2020. All the dogs are believed to be owned by Reed.  The dogs were left outside in sub-freezing temperatures and all had bite marks on their limbs, necks and ears indicative of dogfighting. 



Reed is charged with first degree Racketeering Conspiracy, first degree Gang Criminality, first degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, first degree Promotion of Organized Street Crime, Second Degree Aggravated Assault, Second Degree Solicitation to Join a Criminal Street Gang, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Leader of a Dog Fighting Network, Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Dog Fighting, Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering, Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Marijuana), and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Reed was aided in his efforts by a network of people who are charged with various crimes:

Rashad Anderson a/k/a “C-Devine”, 39, is charged with second degree Leader of a Dog Fighting Network and third degree Conspiracy to Commit Dog Fighting.

Kaniesha Bacon, 30, of Hyson Road in Jackson, is charged first degree Racketeering Conspiracy, third degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering, third degree Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) [Marijuana].

Itayasia Berry a/k/a “TayTay”, 21, of Corlies Avenue in Neptune Township, is charged with second degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), third degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine), and third degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Prescription Pills).

Jawaun Boggs a/k/a “Jig”, 24, of Atlantic Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession

of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Unlawful Use), Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Prescription Pills), Third Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS (Prescription Pills), and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

King Brent a/k/a “Pay”, 25, of Atlantic Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS (Prescription Pills).

Alahji Conteh a/k/a “Stash”, 25, of Atlantic Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm).

Thomas Cutillo, Jr., 25, of Garfield Avenue in Avon-By-the-Sea, is charged with third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Prescription Pills) and Third Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS (Cocaine and/or Heroin).

Sammy Davis, 55, of Monroe Avenue in Neptune Township, is charged with third Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS (Cocaine).

Nakee Davis-Ruffin a/k/a “Squad”, 21, of Third Avenue in Asbury Park is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.

Jahquan Fenn a/k/a “Capo” and “Trey”, 30, of Center Street in Freehold Boro, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Dale Ghee a/k/a “Budda”, 23, of Sewall Avenue in Asbury Park is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Marijuana).

Marciyah Gill, 25, of Bond Street in Freehold Boro, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine).

Richard Ivery, 35, of State Route 33 in Wall Township, is charged with Third Degree Possession of CDS (Marijuana) with Intent to Distribute and Fourth Degree Possession of Over 50 Grams of Marijuana.

Jy’Zaire Jones a/k/a “Ceemo”, 25, of Allen Avenue in Ocean Township, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (community firearm), Second Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine), and Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering.

A juvenile male from Asbury Park is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.

Tyree Kirkpatrick a/k/a “Ree”, 32, of Third Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), First Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Zion Langhorne a/k/a “Too Brazy”, 19, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, First Degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, and Second Degree Solicitation to Join a Criminal Street Gang.

Marcella Mallory, 57, of East Sunset Avenue in Red Bank, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine) and Third Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS (Cocaine).

Mark McMillian a/k/a “Noodle”, 43, of Bangs Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Dog Fighting.

Julissa Miles, 32, of Third Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm).

Jose Mosely a/k/a “Brazy”, 33, of State Route 70 in Manchester Township, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), First Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Jamar Ousley, 37, of Colts Neck Road in Freehold Township, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy and Fourth Degree Solicitation to Join a Criminal Street Gang.

Daishon Smith a/k/a “Beefy” or “Atkins Ave.”, 29, of Atlantic Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine), Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Prescription Pills), and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Rufus Squarewell a/k/a “Ru”, 38, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Dog Fighting.

Jimmy Tran, 29, of Broadway in Freehold Township, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Marijuana).

Melanie Tucker, 36, of Monroe Avenue in Neptune Township, is charged with Second Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine).

Marcus Washington a/k/a “Mo Shine”, 25, of Brockton Avenue in Neptune Township, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Shakon Winslow a/k/a “Stick-up” or “Wise”, 26, of Bangs Avenue in Neptune Township, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, First Degree Gang Criminality, First Degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Second degree Aggravated Assault, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering, Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine), Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS, Fourth Degree Solicitation to Join a Criminal Street Gang, and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Prosecutor Gramiccioni would like to thank the following agencies for their assistance in conducting the investigation: New York/New Jersey Regional Task Force and Capitol Area Regional Task Force of the United States Marshal’s Office; the Red Bank field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) HIDTA, the New Jersey State Police; the New Jersey State Parole Board; the Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office; the Union County Prosecutor’s Office; the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office; the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and police departments in Union Beach, Keansburg, Highlands, Neptune Township, Neptune City, Tinton Falls, Eatontown, Long Branch, Howell, Spring Lake, Asbury Park, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Red Bank, Middletown, Jackson, Lakewood, Keyport and Oceanport.

If convicted of Attempted Murder, each defendant faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. Each defendant would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

The Racketeering charges allege that the defendants engaged in a continuous pattern of interrelated criminal conduct, namely drug trafficking, gun trafficking and dogfighting, among other crimes.  If convicted of first degree Racketeering, each defendant faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, and a period of parole ineligibility equal to 85% of the sentence imposed.  Additionally, the Racketeering counts will not merge with other charged counts. 

If convicted of Promoting Organized Street Crime, each defendant faces 15 to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $200,000.  If convicted of any other first degree crime, each defendant faces a sentence of up to 20 years in state prison.  If convicted of any of the second degree crimes, each defendant faces a sentence of five to ten years in state prison.  If convicted of any third degree crime, defendants face three to five years in state prison. 

The cases are assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Matthew Bogner and Joshua Carmel.

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

Asbury Park Man Arrested For Possession Of Assault Firearm And Other Charges

October 1, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Asbury Park man was arrested and charged with possession of an assault firearm, among other charges, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Eshawn T. Richardson, 23, of Asbury Park, was arrested and charged with second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (assault firearm), fourth degree Possession of a Prohibited Weapons and Devices (large capacity magazine), fourth degree Obstruction, fourth degree Resisting Arrest, and disorderly persons possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

On Tuesday September 29, 2020, Neptune Township Police Department responded to a 911 call of shots fired at approximately around 12:07 a.m.  Officers arrived and began an investigation, which subsequently led to the recovery of an American Tactical Mil Sport rifle loaded with .223 rounds and other evidence on a trail between Sunshine Park and Graham Avenue.  Officers located Richardson in close proximity to the trail.  Richardson fled from the officers on foot but was taken into custody a short time later.

A joint investigation was thereafter conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Neptune Township Police Department.  The investigation revealed that while no victims were injured, a residence on the opposite side of State Highway 18 was damaged by gunfire around the same time.

The shooting of the residence remains under investigation, and anyone with information regarding the case can reach out to Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Daniel Newman at (800)-533-7443 or Neptune Township Police Detective Mysonn Ledet at (732)-988-8000 x420.

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

Richardson is currently being detained at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution until his First Appearance and Detention Hearing.

If convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Richardson faces a sentence of five to ten years in state prison. If convicted of any of the fourth degree charges, Richardson faces up to 18 months in prison. The disorderly persons charge carries up to six months in jail.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Bogner.

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.

2020 Police Unity Tour Bike Ride Held In NJ


See related MidJersey.News coverage here: Police Unity Tour Memorial Service And Blessing Of Riders


September 27, 2020

Check back for more photos, still having photos sent into MidJersey.News and will be updated again tomorrow or later tonight.

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–The Police Unity Tour held a one day bike ride today starting in Asbury Park and proceeding on shore routes towards Stafford Township ending at the Stafford Township Police Memorial.

This year’s spring four day ride that is usually held in May was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic that ends at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

This year’s ride was shortened to one day and two hundred sixty police officers participated from fourteen states including California and Missouri.


History of the Police Unity Tour:

In 1997, Florham Park (NJ) Police Officer Patrick Montuore had a simple idea: organize a four-day bicycle ride from New Jersey to Washington, DC to raise public awareness about law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, and to ensure that their sacrifice is never forgotten. With that, the Police Unity Tour was formed. 

What started with 18 riders on a four day fund-raising bicycle ride from Florham Park, NJ to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. has grown into 9 chapters consisting of nearly 2,600 members nationwide who make the trip annually. Participants include riders, motorcycles, and support personnel.

The journey is long and challending but for the Police Unity Tour participants it is what they prepare for throughout the year. Through fundraising and physical training, they know that their efforts raise awareness of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many law enforcement officers. 

The last leg of the jouney ends at the Memorial, where the participants are greeted by friends, family, and survirors. Once there, many Police Unity Tour members present remembrance braclets worn on their wrists throughout the journey to the families of the fallen. 

May 2020, the Police Unity Tour was proud to donate more than $2.0 million to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, bringing our total donations to more than $30 million since their inception. 

The Police Unity Tour is the sponsor of the National Law Enforcement Museum’s Hall of Remembrance, the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award, and Recently Fallen Alert programs. 








Video provided by: Bucky For Sherriff










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

One Critically Injured In Asbury Park Shooting

September 3, 2020

FREEHOLD-ASBURY PARK, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Monmouth County law enforcement officials are investigating a shooting that took place Wednesday night in Asbury Park that left one victim critically injured, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Rumors being circulated on social media falsely indicated that this incident involved a police involved shooting, which is not the case.  Asbury Park Police responded to the area of 1031 Sewell Avenue at approximately 10:17 p.m. on Wednesday September 2, 2020, for a shots fired incident. Upon arrival, police officers located a male victim with five gunshot wounds. The victim was taken to a local hospital and is currently in critical, but stable condition. The investigation has thus far revealed a minimum of sixteen shots were fired in the area.

The case is being investigated by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Detective Daniel Newman of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Detective Cynthia Yost at 1-732-774-1300.

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), or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com

Officers Admit Targeting Citizen After Complaint

August 25, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MERCER)–An Asbury Park police officer and a former city Special Law Enforcement Officer, Class 2 (SLEO-2) entered guilty pleas today admitting they vandalized vehicles belonging to a citizen who filed an internal affairs complaint against them, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Asbury Park Police Officer Stephen Martinsen, 31, and former SLEO-2 Thomas Dowling, 27, both of Asbury Park entered guilty pleas virtually today to fourth-degree Criminal Mischief before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano, Jr., in connection to the vandalism of two vehicles, one in Ocean Grove and one in Asbury Park, between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on September 3, 2019.  Dowling and Martinsen admitted during their pleas that they slashed the tires of the vehicles and smashed a window of one of the vehicles, causing over $500 in total damage.  They further admitted that they vandalized the vehicles after the victim filed a complaint against them with the Asbury Park Police Department.

 As part of the plea agreements, the defendants permanently forfeited any future public employment in the State of New Jersey. Additionally, the State agreed to recommend a probationary sentence conditioned upon restitution being made to the victim for damage to the motor vehicles.  Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2020.

“Spiteful retaliation from law enforcement officers towards a citizen for any reason is an unacceptable option. This is in no way condoned at any level, for any reason. All members of the law enforcement community must maintain the public’s trust by conducting themselves at the highest level of integrity and decency,” Gramiccioni said.

“The cooperative efforts of the Asbury Park Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Professional Responsibility Unit is a clear example of how effective our current internal affairs policies are.  These officers were held accountable for their actions and misconduct and we will continue to hold our officers responsible to build upon the trust of the community that we serve,” Asbury Park Police Chief David Kelso said.

Martinsen has been suspended without pay since this incident.  Dowling was terminated when the initial charges were filed.  Martinsen had been part of the department since 2013, starting as a Special Law Enforcement Officer, Class 1 in May 2013, becoming a SLEO-2 in May 2014 and then becoming a full-time member of the force since July 2017. Dowling had been a SLEO-2 since May 2015.

The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crime Unit.

Dowling is represented by Lisa Krenkel, Esq., of Allenhurst.

Martinsen is represented by Joseph Surman, Esq., of New Brunswick.

Lakewood Man Has Been Arrested For Attempted Murder In Shooting Of 4 Year Old Girl

August 20, 2020


See previous MidJersey.News story here: Law Enforcement Asking For Public’s Assistance In Finding Shooter Of 4 Year Old Child In Monmouth County


FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)—A Lakewood man has been arrested and charged for his role in the shooting of a four-year-old Asbury Park girl, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Sciaire N. Jackson, 27, of Lakewood, has been arrested and charged with first degree Attempted Murder, second degree Aggravated Assault, second degree Possession of a Weapon For an Unlawful Purpose, second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and second degree Certain Person Prohibited from Possessing a Weapon.

At approximately 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, a 4-year-old child was shot while sitting outside the family’s home with other family members on Boston Way, a residential village in Asbury Park.  The child was shot in the upper thigh area, breaking the femur bone. Physicians treating the child have deemed the injury as serious, but non-life threatening.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department revealed that Jackson rode up on a bicycle and began firing a handgun at several people located outside of an apartment.  The child was just playing outside and was not the intended target.  A second person returned fire at Jackson; however that person has not has not yet been identified.

The Prosecutor’s Office would also like to extend a special thank you to the Lakewood Police Department for their help in this investigation.

The case is being investigated by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Detective William Anton of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Detective Dillon Gourley at 1-732-774-1300.

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; or by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available for iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/community/index.htm).

If convicted of Attempted Murder, Jackson faces up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.If convicted of Aggravated Assault, the maximum potential sentence is a State Prison term of up to 10 years.  Any sentence imposed for the crime of Aggravated Assault would also be subject to “N.E.R.A.”
           

If convicted of either Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose or Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, the maximum potential sentence is a State Prison term of 10 years, and pursuant to the “Graves Act” there is a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of one half of the custodial sentence imposed, or 42 months, whichever is greater.If convicted of Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons, he faces up to 10 years in state prison with a five-year mandatory period of parole ineligibility.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Bogner.

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.

Law Enforcement Asking For Public’s Assistance In Finding Shooter Of 4 Year Old Child In Monmouth County

See MidJersey.News update here: Lakewood Man Has Been Arrested For Attempted Murder In Shooting Of 4 Year Old Girl

August 19, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Monmouth County law enforcement officials are asking for the public’s assistance to bring a shooter, responsible for causing serious injuries to a 4-year-old, to justice. The shooting took place in Asbury Park on August 18, 2020, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

At approximately 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, a 4-year-old child was shot while sitting outside the family’s home on Boston Way. The child was shot in the upper thigh area, breaking the femur bone. The injury is deemed serious, but non-life threatening.

“Enough is enough,” Gramiccioni stated. “We have a toddler who was struck and injured by a stray bullet while sitting outside her apartment in the middle of the day.  Thankfully, all indications are that the little girl will recover.  Unfortunately, though, this has not always been the case.  In 2018, 10-year-old Yovanni Banos-Merino, lost his life while hiding under a bed from gunfire. These senseless acts of violence must stop.  We must do everything in our power to ensure that Monmouth County’s citizens, and their children, are safe and protected.  We are requesting the public’s assistance to help bring the perpetrator to justice for this heinous and monstrous act.”

The case is being investigated by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Detective William Anton of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Detective Dillon Gourley at 1-732-774-1300.

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; or by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available for iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/community/index.htm).

Neptune Man Arrested For Attempted Murder

August 11, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Neptune Township man was arrested and charged for his role in an attempted murder in Asbury Park in May, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Ryan Taylor, 29, of Neptune Township, was arrested and charged with first degree Attempted Murder, second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, second degree Certain Person Not to Possess a Weapon, second degree Armed Burglary, and third degree Hindering Apprehension.

Asbury Park Police Department responded to a report of shots fired on May 15, 2020, around 10:33 p.m., in the area of the Asbury Park Village housing complex located on Atkins Avenue. Upon arrival, officers located a 26-year-old male victim suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune Township where he was treated and later released.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department revealed the victim was standing in the courtyard of the apartment complex when two men approached the group of people, including the victim and began shooting. Taylor was later identified as one of the shooters, the second shooter has not been identified.

Anyone with information regarding the case can reach out to Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Ramon Camacho at (800)-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Detective Cynthia Yost at (732)-774-1300.

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; or by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available for iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/community/index.htm).

If convicted of Attempted Murder, Taylor faces up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

If convicted of Possession of Weapon for an Unlawful purpose, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Certain Persons Not to Possess a Weapon and Armed Burglary, Taylor faces a sentence of five to ten years in state prison, on each charge. If convicted of Hindering Apprehension, Taylor faces a sentence of three to five years in prison. 

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Bogner.

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.

FBI Seeking Information on Individuals Inciting Violence During First Amendment-Protected Peaceful Demonstrations

June 2, 2020

The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution is dual and simultaneous, not contradictory.
 
Accordingly, we are committed to apprehending and charging violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law. The continued violence, potential threat to life, and destruction of property across the United States interferes with the rights and safety of First Amendment-protected peaceful demonstrators, as well as all other citizens.
 
To help us identify actors who are actively instigating violence in the wake of Mr. George Floyd’s death, the FBI is accepting tips and digital media depicting violent encounters surrounding the civil unrest that is happening throughout the country.
 
If you witness or have witnessed unlawful violent actions, we urge you to submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant to the case at fbi.gov/violence.
 
You may also call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) to verbally report tips and/or information related to this investigation.

Monmouth County Beachgoers “Know Before You Go”

May 21, 2020

MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ –It’s important to research the new social-distancing regulations and policies in place at your desired beach destination before leaving your home! Some towns may require masks to be worn in restrooms and others may only be selling beach badges online while limiting the number of daily badges being sold. It is information like this that will be vital to know before you go to ensure a smooth trip to the Jersey Shore!

We want your trip to the beach to be enjoyable and safe! Click the link below to see the current regulations and policies.

Monmouth County Man Charged With Possession Of Machine Gun

May 4, 2020

TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man will have his initial appearance today for possessing a machine gun as a previously convicted felon, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Davon Harley, 30, of Neptune City, New Jersey, appeared by video conference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zahid M. Quraishi and was detained without bail. Harley was arrested by local authorities on Feb. 8, 2020, and charged with state offenses. He is now charged by federal criminal complaint with one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possession of a machinegun.

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

In February 2020 a Neptune City Police officer confronted Harley, a previously convicted felon, who was arguing with others in the yard of an apartment complex. Harley fled through the apartment complex into neighboring properties and discarded a handgun that, upon inspection, had been altered to fire exclusively in fully automatic mode. The weapon had a magazine capable of holding 31 rounds of ammunition. Members of law enforcement, assisted by the Neptune Township and Asbury Park police departments located Harley and recovered the machine gun and the magazine that Harley had discarded.

The felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a machine gun charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson; officers of the Neptune City Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Matthew Quagliato; officers of the Neptune Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police James M. Hunt Jr.; officers of the Asbury Park Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police David Kelso; officers of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Shaun Golden; and detectives of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, with the investigation leading to the charges. This case was brought as part of Project Stop the Violence, a comprehensive strategy to combat gun crimes in Monmouth County.

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Matthews of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

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

20-129 

Defense counsel: Lisa Van Hoeck Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender (Trenton)