Category: Howell

Uncle And Nephew Admit To Slaying In Howell Township

Omar Rivera-Rojas a.k.a. Juan Carlos Rivera-Rojas, 32, of Lakewood, along with his nephew, Alberto Rojas-Hernandez, 20, also of Lakewood, both pled guilty to first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter charges. 

September 26, 2022

FREEHOLD – Omar Rivera-Rojas (also known as Juan Carlos Rivera-Rojas), and his nephew Alberto Rojas-Hernandez, pleaded guilty to first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter charges stemming from a 2019 slaying in Howell Township, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Sunday.  

On Friday September 23, 2022, before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux, Omar Rivera-Rojas a.k.a. Juan Carlos Rivera-Rojas, 32, of Lakewood, along with his nephew, Alberto Rojas-Hernandez, 20, also of Lakewood, both pled guilty to first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter charges. At the time of sentencing the State will recommend 22 years in a New Jersey State Prison for Rivera-Rojas. The sentence will be subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA) with an 85% period of parole ineligibility. At the time of sentencing for Rojas-Hernandez, the State will recommend 20 years in a New Jersey State Prison. The sentence will also be subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA) with 85% period of parole ineligibility.  

The Howell Township Police Department responded to a 911 call at about 3:46 a.m. on October 18, 2019, reporting an unconscious male laying in Hurley Pond Road just east of Route 547.  Upon arrival, a male was located lying face down in the roadway.  The incident was initially investigated as a fatal hit and run motor vehicle incident.  However, upon the arrival of SCART investigators it was quickly determined that his death was not the result of a hit and run event.

The man, identified as Domingo Merino-Rafael, 33, also of Lakewood, was unresponsive and obviously deceased. MONOC personnel responded and the victim was pronounced deceased at 4:12 a.m. by doctors at Newark Beth Israel Hospital. Rafael was taken to the Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office where a post-mortem examination performed by Medical Examiner Allison Mautone, M.D. and the staff of the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death was a Homicide.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Howell Township Police Department determined Rivera-Rojas, Rojas-Hernandez, and Merino-Rafael traveled from Lakewood to Middlesex County on the evening of October 17, 2019.  The men were returning to Lakewood in the early morning hours of October 18, 2019, when the trio got into an argument that culminated with the uncle and nephew killing Merino-Rafael. During their factual basis both men admitted that they each struck the victim in the back of the head with a machete.  The cause of death was multiple chop wounds to the head. 

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Howell Township Police Department also credited the Lakewood Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance during the investigation.

Sentencing for both Rivera-Rojas and Rojas-Hernandez is scheduled for March 3, 2023, before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux.

The case is being handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Stephanie Dugan and Tara Wilson.

Rojas-Hernandez is represented by Joseph Champagne, Esq. of Toms River, New Jersey.

Rivera-Rojas is represented by Carlos Diaz-Cobo, Esq. of New Brunswick, New Jersey.


Howell Township Man Who Ran Illegal Gambling Business Sentenced To 18-Months Prison For Filing False Tax Return

September 21, 2022

TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man who ran an illegal gambling business was sentenced to 18 months in prison for filing a false tax return, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Steven Bryce, 52, of Howell Township, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to Count Five of an indictment charging him with subscribing to a false tax return. U.S. District Judge Zahid N. Quraishi imposed the sentence on Sept. 20, 2022, in Trenton federal court.

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

In 2013, Bryce operated an illegal gambling business. On July 14, 2014, Bryce filed with the IRS U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040, for the calendar year 2013 on behalf of himself and his spouse, which falsely stated that they had total income of $112,899. The 2013 tax return was not true and correct: Bryce received significant income from his gambling business, and, as a result, had income substantially in excess of the amount he reported. As part of his plea agreement, Bryce agreed to pay full restitution of $338,885 to the IRS for tax losses resulting from false tax returns filed by Bryce for calendar years 2011 to 2016.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Quraishi sentenced Bryce to one year of supervised release, a $50,000 fine, and ordered to pay $338,885 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara F. Merin and J Fortier Imbert of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

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Defense counsel: Edward C. Bertuccio Hamilton, New Jersey



Fatal Motorcycle Crash Under Investigaton In Howell Township

July 30, 2022

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–The Howell Township Traffic Safety Unit is investigating a fatal single vehicle crash which occurred on July 29, 2022. At approximately 10:27p.m., a 23-year-old motorcyclist from Jackson Township was traveling west on Norse Drive when he left the road for an unknown reason and struck a utility pole. The motorcyclist sustained traumatic injuries, and life savings measures were initiated by first responders. He was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, but was pronounced deceased at the hospital. The crash remains under investigation by the Howell Township Police Department Any witnesses are asked to call Ptl. Kyle Bush of the Howell Police Traffic Safety Unit at 732-938-4575, ext 2667 or Det. Brian Boryszewski of the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office at 732-431-7160, ext. 4082.


OSHA urging employers to slope, shore, and shield trenches to protect workers in New Jersey

July 7, 2022

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ–Following the June 30 incident that occurred when a worker fell into a trench and it collapsed on him at a house construction site in Howell, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reminding all New Jersey employers to take the necessary steps to protect workers from trench-related fatalities and accidents. The Howell trench was 40 inches x 40 inches, approximately seven-and-a-half-feet-deep, located in the rear of the basement wall of the house.

“A trench can quickly become an early grave if the proper protection is not utilized.” said OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick in Marlton, New Jersey. “Friday’s rescue should be a strong reminder for employers to take the proper precautions. OSHAs message to employers is simple: Slope it, Shore it, and Shield it.”

In 2020-2021, OSHA documented 20 deaths and injuries related to trenching and excavation. The leading cause for these fatalities was inadequate cave-in protection. These tragic worker deaths have long-lasting impacts on the workers’ families, co-workers, and communities.

Just 7 days prior there was another trench rescue in Hamilton Township Mercer County:





Photos from the Hamilton Township Trench Rescue on June 23, 2022


NJ State Golf Association’s Evans Scholarship Recipients Announced

March 8, 2022

GLENVIEW, IL–Seven students from New Jersey have been awarded the New Jersey State Golf Association Evans Scholarship, a full housing and tuition college grant offered to golf caddies, following a final selection interview held Feb. 8.
The result of a partnership between the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholars Foundation and the NJSGA’s Caddie Scholarship Foundation, NJSGA Evans Scholars are chosen based on displaying a strong caddie record, excellent academics, financial need and outstanding character. Candidates must meet the qualifications of both organizations in order to earn the scholarship. Winners are listed below.
The students will begin college this fall as NJSGA Evans Scholars at leading universities across the nation, with most planning to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The Evans Scholarship is valued at more than $120,000 over four years. There are currently 15 NJSGA Evans Scholars in school this year.
“Our NJSGA Evans Scholars are part of an exceptional incoming class of New Scholars from around the nation,” said WGA Chairman Joe Desch. “They represent what the Evans Scholars Program has been about since 1930.”
“We are extremely excited to partner with the Evans Scholars Foundation to announce this group of NJSGA Evans Scholars,” said NJSGA President Michael McFadden. “They are all outstanding individuals and well deserving of the award.”
The Evans Scholars selection interviews are being held with applicants nationwide through the spring. When the 2021-22 selection meeting process is complete, an estimated 315 caddies from across the country are expected to be awarded the Evans Scholarship.
The Western Golf Association, headquartered in Glenview, Illinois, has supported the Chick Evans Scholarship Program through the Evans Scholars Foundation since 1930. Known as one of golf’s favorite charities, it is the nation’s largest scholarship program for caddies.
Currently, a record 1,070 caddies are enrolled at 21 universities across the nation as Evans Scholars, and more than 11,500 caddies have graduated as Evans Scholars since the program was founded by famed Chicago amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr.
Scholarship funds come mostly from contributions by nearly 35,000 supporters across the country, who are members of the Evans Scholars Par Club program. Evans Scholars Alumni donate more than $17 million annually, and all proceeds from the BMW Championship, the penultimate PGA TOUR Playoff event in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup competition, are donated to the Evans Scholars Foundation. In 2022, the BMW Championship will be held at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware, from Aug. 16-21.










About the Evans Scholars Foundation
The Western Golf Association, headquartered in Glenview, Illinois, has supported the Evans Scholars Foundation since 1930. One of golf’s favorite charities, the Evans Scholars Program is the nation’s largest scholarship program for caddies. Currently, a record 1,070 caddies are enrolled in 21 universities across the nation as Evans Scholars, and more than 11,500 caddies have graduated as Evans Scholars since the program was founded by famed Chicago amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr.
Scholarship funds come mostly from contributions by nearly 35,000 golfers across the country, who are members of the Evans Scholars Par Club program. Evans Scholars Alumni donate more than $17 million annually, and all proceeds from the BMW Championship, the third of four PGA TOUR Playoff events in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup competition, are donated to the Evans Scholars Foundation. The BMW Championship will be held at Wilmington Country Club from Aug. 16-21, 2022. Proceeds from the event will help support the Evans Scholars Program. To learn more about the WGA and ESF, visit www.wgaesf.org.


About the New Jersey State Golf Association
Founded in 1900, the New Jersey State Golf Association promotes and preserves the traditions of the game of golf in the State of New Jersey. Today, more than 250 member clubs, courses, and organizations represent nearly 65,000 members of the NJSGA. Most importantly, due to the variety and quality of services provided to its member clubs, courses, and golfers, the Association continues to grow. The NJSGA is proud of its diverse tournament schedule, which includes 24 State Championships for golfers of varying backgrounds and skill levels. To learn more, visit njsga.org.


About the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation
The NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation has been a paramount piece of the NJSGA since 1947. As it enters its 75th year, the CSF provides financial assistance to deserving New Jersey club caddies pursuing higher education. Most notably, since its inception the CSF has provided more than $16 million in college scholarship awards to over 3,100 caddies. For the 2020-21 academic year, the Foundation has provided 157 caddies with over $667,000 in scholarships. Caddie scholars are selected based on their academic performance, financial need, and length and quality of service as a caddie. The 157 Caddie Scholars for the academic year 2020-21 represent 81 colleges. To learn more, visit njsga.org/caddie-scholarship.



Woman Charged with Stealing from Another Employer

February 25, 2022

FREEHOLDThe Howell woman who was criminally charged last month with swindling a former employer out of more than $2.2 million over the course of seven years has been additionally criminally charged with stealing more than $67,000 from her next employer, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Friday.

Donna Cook, 52, is charged with third-degree Theft by Unlawful Taking, third-degree Forgery, and third-degree False Uttering.

After news coverage of Cook’s January arrest circulated, her next employer, a Shrewsbury-based excavating company, reviewed its financial records – and discovered that from early November 2021 into early January 2022, Cook had allegedly written multiple checks out to cash, and an additional check made out to directly pay a personal expense, with forged signatures, according to an investigation by the MCPO Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau.

Cook turned herself in again to authorities on Friday, after which she was released with a pending first appearance to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court. The arrest was made a little more than a week after her scheduled first appearance in the initial case against her, which resulted in separate charges of second-degree Theft, third-degree Forgery, and third-degree False Uttering in connection with Cook’s alleged actions taken while at her previous employer, a Tinton Falls-based construction company.

The Prosecutor’s Office would like to thank the members of the Shrewsbury and Tinton Falls police departments who assisted the two investigations. Anyone with additional information about potentially problematic activities on the part of Cook at any of her places of employment is encouraged to contact MCPO Detective Michael Acquaviva toll-free at (800) 533-7443.

These cases are being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Kristen Anastos. Cook is being represented by Allison Friedman, Esq., with an office in Freehold.

If convicted on the second-degree offense, Cook faces up to 10 years in state prison.

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



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

December 3, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Eight Indicted on Charges Involving Child Sex Abuse Materials

December 2, 2021

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

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

Indicted on Tuesday were:

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

Indicted earlier this fall were:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Howell High School Student Arrested in SnapChat Threat

December 1, 2021

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Howell High School student was arrested yesterday within an hour of posting a threat on SnapChat using an AirSoft rifle. Although the AirSoft rifle is not a real firearm it looks identical to an actual rifle. Once the SnapChat was shared members of the community notified the police department of the possible threat. See statements from Howell Police Chief Kudrick and Principial Braverman below.

Messages from Chief Kudrick and Principal Braverman Re: SnapChat post:

CHIEF KUDRICK’S MESSAGE
This evening I was notified of a post on SnapChat. I immediately contacted Principal Braverman. Shortly thereafter I was notified by my road supervisor that they too received the same report from the community. Within an hour, the student was arrested. He was found to be in possession of an AirSoft rifle. The same one depicted in the photo. Although not a real firearm it certainly is identical to an actual rifle.
We thank the community who recognized this potential threat and immediately shared across social media platforms and notified the police department.
This was a poor decision by this juvenile. Although no credible threat of violence is assumed, we will have an increased police presence at the high school tomorrow.
I thank all of you who saw something and said something. My officers, under the supervision of Sgt Encarnacion did an outstanding job.

PRINCIPAL BRAVERMAN’S MESSAGE
Good evening,
In order to avoid further public alarm, and in partnership with HTPD Chief Kudrick, we are informing our school community that we were made aware of threatening remarks made this evening on SnapChat. These remarks were immediately investigated by HTPD and found to be not credible. The student that posted these remarks will not be in school for the immediate future. As always, we are mindful of student confidentiality, but in light of the unrest of the public and our students, and to protect the safety of all students and staff, we are sharing this information. To that end, we join in the request of the Howell Police Department that everyone be mindful not to circulate or interpret rumors or speculative information as true. As always, the health and safety of all our students and staff is our foremost concern. Chief Kudrick and I have spoken multiple times this evening and will remain in close contact regarding this matter.

Mr. Braverman



Tropical Storm Ida Pounds Area, Tornados, Flash Floods, Rescues Made, Deaths Reported

Flash flooding from Tropical Storm Ida’s heavy rains flooded roadways and many homes as creeks and rivers overflowed. Many people were caught in their vehicles in the raging flood waters and 23 New Jerseyans have lost their life to this storm according to Governor Phil Murphy. The National Weather Service has confirmed 7 tornados, in NJ and PA so far.


Tropical Storm Ida Stories Here:

Tropical Storm Ida Floods Lawrence Township 100+ Displaced

2 Tropical Storm Ida Related Fatalities And 50 Rescues Made In Hopewell Township Floods

BREAKING: House Explodes In Manville, NJ

Tropical Storm Ida Pounds Area, Tornados, Flash Floods, Rescues Made, Deaths Reported

City of Trenton Continuing Evacuation Proceedings in High-Risk Flood Zones as Water Levels Rise Again

Trenton Evacuates “The Island” In Preparation Of Anticipated Flooding

BREAKING: “Miracle In Mercer County” As 3 Police Officers Rescued After Being Swept Away By Floods

Governor Murphy Declares State of Emergency in Response to Tropical Storm Ida

BREAKING: Reports of NJ Task Force 1 Activation For Tornado In South Jersey And Flooding

Tornado Emergency Take Cover!

City of Trenton to Start Voluntary Evacuation Proceedings in High-Risk Flood Zones

Tornado Warning


Video Hamilton Township Sweetbriar Avenue and Whitehead Road area:


Video by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response



“As Mercer County begins to fully grasp and assess the destruction caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, I wish to thank the heroic first responders, the police, firefighters, EMTs, emergency workers and public works professionals, who worked throughout the day and night to save lives. The courage and commitment our first responders have displayed throughout this crisis is awe-inspiring and appreciated.

It is with great sadness that I report that despite the countless rescues that took place overnight, we know that at least two Mercer County souls have been lost.

To our residents who have been displaced from their homes or who have lost property, Mercer County is here to assist you. For those who made it through the storm without harm, I encourage you to check on the well-being of your friends and neighbors and to offer comfort in any way you can. 

Finally, I also wish to thank Gov. Phil Murphy for his quick action in declaring a State of Emergency in New Jersey, which will allow Mercer County to seek federal reimbursement for its disaster response and help us begin to pick up the pieces and recover.” — Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes


Princeton: Due to the heavy rainfall last night, Princeton experienced severe flooding and numerous roadways were closed as a result. At approximately 11:43 PM, PPD, PFARS and PFD were dispatched for a swift water rescue on Rosedale Rd. near the Johnson Park School. All responding personnel made efforts to rescue the stranded motorist, who was identified as a 58 year-old Princeton resident. While rescue efforts were attempted, the motorist climbed onto the roof of his vehicle as the water continued to rise at a rapid rate. Due to the unsafe water level and dangerous current rescue efforts were unsuccessful. As a result, requests were made for the NJSP aviation unit to respond and assist. At 4:08 AM the victim was successfully hoisted into the helicopter and flown to Trenton Mercer Airport for evaluation. Mutual aid was received by Lawrenceville Fire Co., Princeton Junction Fire Co., Hamilton Fire Dept., Trenton Fire Dept. and the Pennsauken FD High Water Truck.

During the aforementioned rescue, a second motorist became stranded with high rising waters on Rt. 206 in the area of Quaker Rd. The resident was identified at 30 year-old Montgomery resident. The PPD, PFARS and PFD all responded. The swift moving water flooded the roadway and began to flood the motorist’s vehicle, forcing the driver to escape onto the roof of the vehicle while emergency rescue efforts were made. The Trenton FD responded with a ladder truck, which drove into the flooded roadway and extended its 100 ft ladder, which was used to rescue the motorist.









...7 CONFIRMED TORNADOES SO FAR...
 ...DAMAGE SURVEYS CONTINUE...
 
 .Update...Update to include survey results for Harrisonville-Mullica Hill- 
 Deptford tornado. 
 
 The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, NJ continues 
 to conduct several storm surveys this afternoon. The surveys are 
 in relation to the severe thunderstorms that moved through the 
 area on September 1, 2021. 
 
 Some Preliminary Tornado Information...
 
 1) Mullica Hill, NJ area (Gloucester County): Confirmed EF-3 with
 estimated peak winds up to 150 mph tornado.
 
 2) Fort Washington/Upper Dublin Twp to Horsham Twp, PA
 (Montgomery County): Confirmed EF-2 with estimated peak winds up 
 to 130 mph. 
 
 3) Edgewater Park, NJ (Burlington County) to Bristol, PA (Bucks 
 County): Confirmed EF-1 with estimated peak winds up to 90 mph.
 
 4) Oxford, PA (Chester County): Confirmed tornado.
 
 5) Buckingham Twp, PA (Bucks County): Confirmed EF-1 with
 estimated peak winds up to 100 mph.
 
 6) Princeton, NJ (Mercer County): Confirmed EF-0 with estimated
 peak winds up to 75 mph.
 
 7) Upper Makefield Township, PA (Bucks County): Confirmed tornado.
 
 Additional information, as it becomes available, will be sent via
 Public Information Statements and also posted on our social media
 platforms.
 






SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The remnants of Hurricane Ida created major flash flooding last evening and overnight. The heavy rain started around 5 PM and by 11:30 PM over 8 inches of rain had fallen in the Township. In the twelve hours after the heavy rain began to fall, there were 125 calls for police, fire, and EMS service. Two families who were trapped in vehicles were rescued by firefighters and briefly sheltered at police headquarters. There were no serious injuries as a result of the storm. As of 3 PM Thursday all roads have been cleared of floodwaters with the exception of Route 27 at the Princeton border. Here are some of the numbers from the storm –

TOTAL CALLS – 125

WATER RESCUES – 15 people

Between 8:30 PM and 11:45 PM Wednesday night, firefighters rescued 15 people from vehicles stuck in flash floodwaters around the Township. Here are the locations the rescues occurred at –

  • Kendall Park Fire Department – Route 1, Oakey Drive, Hawthorne Road, Shelly Road
  • Monmouth Junction Fire Department – Route 130, Major Road, Blackhorse Lane
  • Kingston Fire Department – Route 1, Mapleton Road, Raymond Road

MOTORIST ASSIST IN HIGH WATER CALLS – 51

TOTAL CARS TOWED FROM FLOODED ROADS – 33

ROADS STILL CLOSED – 1 (Route 27 / Princeton Border)

FLOODED BASEMENT CALLS – 11

South Brunswick Office of Emergency Management Director and Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said, “I want to thank all the police officers and firefighters who risked going into flooded waters to get people to safety. The flash flooding created life-threatening conditions in minutes. The conditions yesterday deteriorated rapidly last evening and too many people ventured out onto the roads. The property damage left behind will be cleaned up in the coming days, but we must all remember to stay off roads when flash flooding is present.”

State Police Seeking to Return Stolen Pieces of Jewelry to Owners

August 20, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Police have recovered several pieces of jewelry during a motor vehicle stop in Monmouth County and are seeking to return the recovered items to the owners.

On August 11, troopers from Troop “C” Hamilton Station stopped a vehicle reported stolen out of Howell Township in Millstone Township. During the stop, troopers recovered several pieces of stolen jewelry within the vehicle.

Troopers recovered the following items:

•Gold ring engraved with “R to M 5-25-68”

•Gold love bracelet

•Silver chain with heart and a cat in the middle

•MGH Pin

•H Pin

•Santa Pin

•Locket with leaves

•Assorted jewelry

Anyone who may be a victim is asked to contact Trooper Mario Fernandez of the New Jersey State Police Hamilton Station at 609-584-5000 ext. 5297.


US Department of Labor Finds Oaks Integrated Care Failed To Protect Workers From Coronavirus Exposure At Two NJ Facilities

Investigation follows two workers’ deaths after outbreaks in Howell, Lumberton

June 30, 2021

MOUNT HOLLY, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Following a coronavirus outbreak in March that led to the deaths of two workers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that a Mount Holly-based healthcare provider failed to implement a required coronavirus prevention program at two of its locations.

OSHA determined that Oaks Integrated Care Inc. did not develop and implement timely and effective measures to mitigate the spread of the virus following outbreaks at its Bock Bay group home in Howell and the Pat LeBon Center in Lumberton. The company failed to identify and isolate clients suspected of having the coronavirus who resided in its group homes, and did not adequately inform staff who worked with these clients about the associated risks.

As a result, two workers – one at Bock Bay and the other at the Pat LeBon Center – suffered exposure and eventually died from the coronavirus. The outbreaks also exposed workers at other Oaks Integrated Care group homes, including Turner Lane Group Home, Evergreen Manor Group Home, R.I.S.E., Jerry Gavin House and the Martha’s Boulevard Group Home.

Additionally, OSHA found the company failed to:

  • Develop and implement a respiratory protection program.
  • Provide NIOSH-certified respirators to employees who provided care to confirmed coronavirus-positive clients.
  • Provide workers with fit tests or medical evaluations to ensure effective use of the required respirators.
  • Provide effective training in the use, cleaning and storage of a respirator.

OSHA cited the company with a serious violation of the respiratory protection standard, and a serious violation of the general duty clause that requires employers to ensure workplaces are free of recognized hazards that may cause death or serious physical harm. Proposed penalties total $27,306.

“Healthcare workers must have increased protections since they face the greatest risks of coronavirus exposure,” said OSHA’s Area Office Director Paula Dixon-Roderick in Marlton, New Jersey. “Employers in the healthcare and long-term care industries have an obligation to ensure effective safeguards and controls are in place to protect employees, patients and others from infection and further spread of the coronavirus.”

Oaks Integrated Care Inc. offers healthcare services in 19 New Jersey counties for adults, children and families with mental illness, addiction or developmental disabilities.

Read more about feasible and acceptable means of abatement for this hazard.

The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

On March 12, OSHA launched a national emphasis program focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. The program also prioritizes employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.

On June 10, OSHA also issued an emergency temporary standard to protect healthcare workers from contracting coronavirus. The ETS is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register.

View OSHA’s COVID-19 information and resources.

Agency

Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Date

June 30, 2021

Release Number

21-1181-NEW


One Critical And Two Others Stabbed In Howell Township

June 20, 2021

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–At approximately 12:10 a.m. June 19, 2021 Howell Police Communications received a 9-1-1 call reporting multiple people stabbed at Rodina Hall located at 243 Alexander Avenue.

Upon arrival, Howell officers were faced with a chaotic scene. They were met by security personnel who led them to three male victims who had significant  injuries after being stabbed. 

The officers were told three suspects fled the scene of this large party.  Officers Hurley and Norton quickly located two of the three along Route 9. They were identified as a 17 year old from Lakewood and a 44 year old resident of Patterson.   They were detained. 

Three Howell Police K9s responded along with our drone that is equipped with an infrared camera to search for the third. As of now, that third person has not been located.  It is also speculated there may not have been a third person involved.

Medical personnel including paramedics from RWJ/SB evaluated the victims and all three were transported to a local trauma center.  Currently, one still remains admitted.  He is expected to live.

Officers from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene and Major Crimes units responded and assisted with processing the scene and interviews that included language translation. 

This investigation is ongoing. Currently, no one has been charged.  

If anyone has any information regarding this incident you are encouraged to contact Detective Bonner at 732-938-4575 x2647 or you can use our anonymous text service http://www.p3tips.com

We thank surrounding agencies for their assistance. This includes Lakewood Police and Jackson EMS.



Lakewood Men Indicted For Murder In Howell Township Slaying

June 1, 2021

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Omar Rivera-Rojas (also known as Juan Carlos Rivera-Rojas), 31, and his nephew Alberto Rojas-Hernandez, 19, both of Lakewood, were indicted by a Monmouth County Grand Jury today for Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Murder, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and Tampering with Evidence, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey.

The Howell Township Police Department responded to a 911 call at about 3:46 a.m. on October 18, 2019, reporting an unconscious male lying in Hurley Pond Road just east of Route 547. Upon arrival, a male was located lying face down in the roadway. The incident was initially investigated as a fatal hit-and-run motor vehicle incident. However, upon the arrival of SCART investigators it was quickly determined that his death was not the result of a hit and run event.

The man, identified as Domingo Merino-Rafael, 33, also of Lakewood, was unresponsive and obviously deceased. MONOC personnel responded and the victim was pronounced deceased at 4:12 a.m. by doctors at Newark Beth Israel Hospital. Rafael was taken to the Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office where a post-mortem examination performed by Medical Examiner Allison Mautone, M.D., and the staff of the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death was a Homicide.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Howell Township Police Department determined Rivera-Rojas, Rojas-Hernandez, and Merino-Rafael traveled from Lakewood to Middlesex County on the evening of October 17, 2019. The men were returning to Lakewood in the early morning hours of October 18, 2019, when the trio got into an argument that culminated with the uncle and nephew pair killing Merino-Rafael.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Howell Township Police Department also credited the Lakewood Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance during the investigation.

Rojas-Hernandez, of Joe Parker Avenue in Lakewood is being held in the Youth Detention Center in North Brunswick where he has been in custody since his arrest in October 2019. Rojas-Hernandez who was just 7 months shy of his 18th birthday at the time of the murder was previously waived to adult court to face the charges alongside his uncle and co-conspirator. Rivera-Rojas has also been detained since his arrest.

If convicted of Murder, Rivera-Rojas and Rojas-Hernandez each face 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 them to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan and Assistant Prosecutor Tara Wilson.

Rojas-Hernandez is represented by Carlos Diaz-Cobo, Esq. of New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Rivera-Rojas is represented by Joseph Champagne, Esq. of Toms River, New Jersey.

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.

National Police Week: 2021 Police Unity Tour Chapter 10

March 13, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

Riders of the 2021 Police Unity Tour Chapter 10 biked hundreds of miles over a period of three days, despite not being able to ride into Washington, DC.

Organized in May 1997, The primary purpose of the Police Unity Tour “We Ride For Those Who Died” is to raise awareness of Law Enforcement Officers who have died in the line of duty. They also raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.

This years ride began on May 9. Bikers began their first day by riding from Eatontown, NJ to Atlantic City, NJ, totaling 97 miles. During this ride, they made stops at the Ocean County Police Academy for a memorial ceremony, and did a ride-by at the Trooper Castellano Memorial on Route 195 in Howell, before ending their first day in Atlantic City.

The next day, riders began in Atlantic City, and ended their day in Lewes, DE, including the ferry from Cape May, NJ to Lewes. On this day, bikers rode a total of 72 miles.

On day three, the last day of the tour, riders continued from Lewes, DE to Annapolis, MD, totaling 90 miles.

All together, bikers rode nearly 260 miles to honor law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

The Police Unity Tour usually consists of four days, however this year the fourth day was stolen from them by officials of Washington, DC. Unfortunately, officials would not grant the organization permits for the ride, nor ceremony at the memorial, claiming covid concerns and that it could “incite unrest.”

Despite politics stealing their ride through DC, riders did a great job this year to raise support for the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice when they left their families to protect ours.

Mercer County agencies that participated in the ride are Princeton Township Police, East Windsor Township Police, Robbinsville Township Police, Trenton Police, Ewing Township Police, and New Jersey State Police.





Howell, Monmouth County Business Man Sentenced To One Year In Prison For Tax Evasion

May 6, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Monmouth County, New Jersey, business owner was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in prison for tax evasion and failure to pay the IRS over $540,000 in employment taxes, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

Wilson Salas-Molina, 41, of Howell, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an information charging him with one count of payroll tax evasion and one count of failure to collect, account for, and pay over payroll taxes. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

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

Salas-Molina was the owner and operator of US Contractor Inc. (aka Wilson Contractors Inc., aka WC Contractor Inc.), a roofing business located in Monmouth County. From 2012 to 2018, Salas-Molina was required to withhold and pay over to the IRS the employment taxes for US Contractor employees. Salas-Molina cashed checks he received from roofing clients at a check cashing service and paid his 14 employees in cash to conceal his payment of wages and his failure to report, account for, and pay over employment taxes to the IRS. The scheme resulted in a failure to withhold and pay over $540,000 in employment taxes to the IRS.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Salas-Molina to three years of supervised release and ordered Salas-Molina to pay $541,181 in restitution to the IRS.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney A. Howard of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

21-189

Defense counsel: Jonathan Goldin Esq., Staten Island, New York


“Remains” Found At Allaire State Park Were Fake Possibly Discarded Halloween Decoration

April 18, 2021

HOWELL-WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–There were unconfirmed reports of a skull and “remains” found last night and a crime scene investigation at Allaire State Park.

Sgt. Philip Curry of the New Jersey State Police, Public Information Unit told MidJersey.news “NJSP detectives responded to the report of recovered human remains in Allaire State Park.  An analysis of the remains determined that they were fake and not actual human remains.”

Another source told MidJersey.news that the remains could have been a realistic discarded Halloween decoration.


$1,000 Reward For Capture Of Robbery Suspects Who Stole Chain Saws And Other Equipment From Barg’s Lawn And Garden

UPDATE 63/3/2021: According to Detective Vincent Bonner of the Howell Township Police Department Detective Bureau the robbery occurred at approximately 2:30 am on March 2, 2021. The robbers smashed though the front door using a sledgehammer and took $15,000. Worth of merchandise. Police are looking for a Silver Ford Expedition 1997-2002 operated by heavyset Hispanic male. If you have information relevant to the robbery please call Detective Bonner of Howell Twp. Police Department at 732-938-4575 extension 2647 with any details.

March 2, 2021

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Barg’s Lawn and Garden posted several videos of a robbery last night on their Facebook page and is reportedly offering a $1,000.00 reward. This family owned and operated business since 1954 and if you happen to know anything about the robbery contact please call Detective Bonner of Howell Twp. Police Department at 732-938-4575 extension 2647 with any details. In the videos you can see the robbers break in and steal several chain saws and other small equipment before leaving.




BPU Sets March 16 Hearing in Optimum/ Altice Investigation

ROBBINSVILLE-HAMILTON TOWNSHIPS, NJ (MERCER)–In response to a wave of complaints regarding poor service and unfair consumer pricing by Optimum/Altice USA, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has found sufficient cause to investigate Optimum/Altice USA and convene a public hearing on March 16, 2021.

The BPU said in a February 17 order it had:

“reviewed the various complaints, municipal government official resolutions and requests for Board investigation and intervention in this matter, and HEREBY FINDS that there is sufficient cause to convene a proceeding to afford the municipal officials and Altice customers the opportunity to voice their concerns about the services received from Altice; as well as afford the company the opportunity to respond to these concerns before determining what corrective action may be warranted and should be taken in this matter.”


The Board designated Commissioner Mary-Anna Holden as the Presiding Officer. Holden “is authorized to rule on all motions that arise during the proceedings and modify any schedules that may be set as necessary to secure a just and expeditious determination of the issues.”

The public hearing will be held virtually. Information concerning participation in the public hearing will be posted on the BPU website. Attorneys for the Townships of Robbinsville and Hamilton filed dual letters to Lawanda Gilbert, Director of the BPU Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, requesting an investigation into the under performing utility in August, 2020.

In addition to Hamilton and Robbinsville, the order lists the boroughs of Dunellen and Sayreville, along with the Townships of Green Brook, Howell, Jackson, Montville, North Brunswick and Piscataway. The BPU received complaints and resolutions from at least 10 municipalities and several state legislators concerning various issues their residents and constituents cited alleging inadequacy and lack of service provided by Altice USA. In the complaints, the municipal and legislative officials cited: “Frequent and lengthy service disruptions (across all services), inconsistent connections and fluctuating Internet speeds, long telephone wait times, poor customer service, and an inability to get a satisfactory response to these issues from the company both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”


READ THE ROBBINSVILLE HAMILTON LETTERS TO BPU 

The letters detail just 11 examples from the hundreds of complaints received by the respective municipal offices at Robbinsville and Hamilton over the past several months citing poor customer service, unstable Internet connections, insufficient network capacity and allegations of price-gouging.

“It is the duty of Optimum (Altice USA) as a utility to furnish safe, adequate and proper service for its customers … and they have failed in that duty,” Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said last summer. “We should not have to continuously pressure this provider to do its job.”

Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin also received a flood of complaints regarding Optimum/Altice USA (formerly Cablevision) and requested the BPU immediately commence an investigation into the services being provided to both Robbinsville and Hamilton pursuant to powers vested in the Board.


“Having reliable cable and internet service has never been more of a necessity than this year has proved it to be,” Martin said. “Both municipalities’ residents have experienced similar, unacceptable issues and a lack of timely remediation from Optimum. Mayor Fried and I will fight for our residents by partnering together on this issue and hope that by doing so it will provide for a stronger likelihood of these concerns being taken seriously by the State. “

Related MidJersey.news stories here:

Mayors Testify At NJ Senate Committee On Law And Public Safety About Utility Company Problems

Hamilton and Robbinsville Request BPU Investigation Into Optimum/Altice







Howell Man Charged With Vehicular Homicide

January 6, 2021

MANCHESTER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has announced that on January 5, 2021, Stephen McGuire, 43, of Howell, was charged with Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5a, as well as Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.3a, in connection with the death of James Grover, 62, also of Howell, on December 12, 2020.  Additionally, McGuire was charged with three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(2), Criminal Trespass in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3b, and the motor offenses of Driving While Intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, Driving While Intoxicated with a Minor as a Passenger in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.15, and Reckless Driving in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-96.

On December 12, 2020, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to Heritage Minerals Mine, also known as ASARCO, on Route 70 in Whiting, for a report of a motor vehicle accident with a submersion. Responding Officers spoke to a group of individuals who were operating Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs); the group related to the Officers that a UTV had entered the lake at the center of the property, causing the UTV and its passengers to be submerged in the lake. 

See Related MidJersey.news story here: 62 Year Old Drowns 25 Feet Of Water As UTV Crashes Into A Forming Mining Lake

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Manchester Township Police Department revealed that a UTV being driven by McGuire, which included James Grover and three minors as passengers, had entered the lake.  The UTV and Mr. Grover did not resurface.  The other passengers and members of the group attempted to locate Mr. Grover but were unsuccessful.  Manchester Township Police and members of the Manchester, Ridgeway and Whiting Volunteer Fire Companies conducted an underwater dive search and rescue operation and located the UTV overturned and submerged in 25 feet of water.  Mr. Grover was attached to the UTV by his safety harness.  Mr. Grover was removed from his safety harness, and life saving measures were performed by Manchester Township Emergency Medical Technicians and Robert Wood Johnson Paramedics.  Mr. Grover succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

In furtherance of the investigation, McGuire was taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River.  A search warrant was obtained for a draw of his blood; laboratory results from the blood draw – received by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office on January 5, 2021 – revealed that McGuire had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .127 %.  In the State of New Jersey, an operator of a motor vehicle is presumed to be over the legal limit for purposes of alcohol consumption where his/her BAC is .08 or greater.

On January 5, 2021, McGuire was arrested without incident at his residence in Howell by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Officers from Manchester Township Police Department.  He is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Manchester Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Manchester Volunteer Fire Company, Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company, Whiting Volunteer Fire Company, Manchester Township Emergency Medical Services, Robert Wood Johnson Paramedics, and Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, for their collaborative efforts relative to this investigation.

The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Man Admits Animal Cruelty In Death Of 4 Puppies

November 5, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A man pleaded guilty today to charges of animal cruelty admitting his neglect caused the deaths of four German Shepard puppies in his care, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Daniel McDonald, 26, of Freehold, pleaded guilty to four counts of third degree Animal Cruelty before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano, Jr. The charges are related to the deaths of four German Shepherd puppies found deceased on a property in Howell where he was temporarily residing.

McDonald also pleaded guilty to third degree Receiving Stolen Property after admitting he was in possession of a John Deere front end loader reported stolen out of Monroe.  

McDonald is scheduled to return for sentencing on January 8, 2021.  Per the plea agreement, the sentencing recommendation is five years in a New Jersey state prison to run concurrent to McDonald’s pending charges in Middlesex and Bergen counties.  As part of the plea, McDonald will be required to perform community service, and agreed to an order to never to own or reside with animals. 

The remains of two deceased German Shepherd puppies were found in a fire pit on a property in Howell where McDonald was temporarily residing on Monday, May 18, 2020.  The Howell Township Police Department and Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Law Enforcement Division, conducted an investigation leading to the discovery of the remains of two more deceased puppies which had been buried on the property.    

The joint investigation ultimately revealed that the puppies were stolen from a farm in Somerset County on or about May 12, when the puppies were only three weeks old.  Investigators learned McDonald was staying at the Somerset County farm prior to the time the puppies went missing. Investigators also learned the puppies were ill, in distress, and were struggling to breathe prior to their deaths.  A necropsy performed on the two buried puppies revealed the puppies suffered from parasites and also were severely emaciated and malnourished with “no indications of recent nutritional ingestion.”  During his plea, McDonald took full responsibility for not getting the puppies the proper care resulting in their deaths.

This case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crimes Unit, and liaison to the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Law Enforcement Division. 

McDonald is represented by Paul Zager, Esq. of Red Bank.

Another Close Call On NJ’s Highways – This Time At Howell Township Crash Scene, Slow Down, Move Over, It’s The Law

PUT THE PHONE DOWN AND MOVE OVER!

October 26, 2020

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A week has gone buy since we celebrated National Move Over Day when Howell Police investigating an accident scene on Route 9 North Bound near Casino Drive with emergency lights activated when a North Bound Driver on their cell phone ran into their patrol vehicle that was at the accident scene. Luckily no one else was injured at the emergency scene.








UPDATE: NJSP Col. Callahan And Govenor Phil Murphy Provide Update On Crash; Trooper Will Be OK After Being Thrown 30 Feet June 22, 2020




HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–This evening, Howell Police were investigating a collision on Rt.9 in the northbound lanes near Casino Drive. While the officers were out of their vehicles, another motorist who admittedly was using her phone struck one of the unoccupied patrol vehicles. The other motorist who is a Howell resident was not impaired or injured. Thankfully no one else was injured at the scene. The motorist was issued summonses. This is another reminder that it only takes a second to possibly ruin the rest of your life or someone else’s. We all are guilty of it on occasion but when there’s an active emergency scene that’s definitely not the time to be doing so. Move over or significantly slow for stopped emergency vehicles. This includes our tow/wrecker services.


New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2

Procedure for motorist approaching certain stationary vehicle.

1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

b. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck as defined in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.396 (C.39:3-84.6) that is displaying a flashing amber light, a stationary highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is operated by the State, an authority or a county or municipality and displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights, or a stationary sanitation vehicle displaying a flashing amber warning light pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2011, c.3 (C.39:3-54.27) shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle, or sanitation vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

c. A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500.

L. 2017, c.43, s.1.

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

Howell Township Closes All Parks Due To Uptick In COVID-19 Cases

October 7, 2020

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Yesterday the Howell Township Office Of Emergency Management posted a notice to all residents closing all parks in the township. The notice states parks were closed due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases, parks filled to capacity, users not practicing social distancing and users not wearing masks per Executive Order 107.

Vote-By-Mail Drop Box Arrives In Allentown

September 22, 2020

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

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

Vote-By-Mail Drop Box Locations

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 22, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20-308 

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

Teen Charged With Murder Waived To Adult Court

September 16, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A judge ruled last week a Lakewood teenager charged in the October 2019 death of a man whose body was found lying in the roadway in Howell will now face those charges in adult court, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English waived Alberto Rojas Hernandez, now 18, from family court up to adult court to face charges of first degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, first degree Murder, third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose and fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.

Rojas Hernandez, of Joe Parker Avenue in Lakewood, is being held in the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center in North Brunswick, pending a First Appearance and Detention Hearing scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.  Rojas Hernandez has been held in the Youth Detention Center since his arrest in October. 

Rojas Hernandez’s uncle, Juan Carlos Rivera Rojas (also known as Omar Rivera Rojas), 29 of Linden Avenue, in Lakewood was previously charged in the killing with first degree Murder.  Rivera Rojas was ordered detained pending trial on Nov. 12, 2019 by the Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon.

The Howell Township Police Department responded to a 911 call at about 3:46 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2019, reporting an unconscious male laying in Hurley Pond Road just east of Route 547.  Upon arrival, a Hispanic male was located lying face down in the roadway.  The incident was initially investigated as a fatal hit and run motor vehicle incident.  However, upon the arrival of SCART investigators it was quickly determined that his death was not the result of a hit and run event.

The man, identified as Domingo Merino Rafael, 33, of Lakewood, was unresponsive and obviously deceased. MONOC personnel responded and the victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. Rafael was taken to the Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office where an autopsy determined the cause of death was a Homicide.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Howell Township Police Department determined Rojas Hernandez, Rivera Rojas and Merino Rafael traveled from Lakewood to Middlesex County on the evening of Oct. 17, 2019.  The men were returning to Lakewood in the early morning hours of Oct. 18, 2019, when the trio got into an argument that culminated with the murder of Merino Rafael.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Howell Township Police Department also credited the Lakewood Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance during the investigation.

If convicted of Murder, Rojas Hernandez 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. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Stephanie Dugan and Tara Wilson.

Rivera Rojas is represented by Joseph Champagne, Esq. of Toms River.

Rojas Hernandez is represented by Carlos Diaz-Cobo, Esq. of New Brunswick.

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.

Howell Police Break Up “Pop-Up” Party With 300 People

August 9, 2020

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Howell Police has requested mutual aid from Wall, Brick, Jackson, Freehold, Monmouth and Ocean County Sheriffs and State Police in response to the dispersal of approximately 300 people in attendance at a “pop-up” party.
Most of the attendees are compliant. Others are hesitant and are directing their anger towards the host who charged admission.

Roadways leading to Wilson Drive are blocked by police to prevent the steady flow of vehicles attempting to attend. Only residents will be allowed.

Further updates will be provided

Howell Happenings NJ Howell Patch Howell NJ Community News 12 New Jersey @what’s happening howell Jersey Shore Hurricane News Mayor Theresa Berger, M.D. Councilman Thomas Russo John Bonevich, Howell NJ Councilman

UPDATE: 8 pm update:
Most of the mutual aid departments have been released. Attendees left without incident. Host was arrested. Further investigation will continue.
Several patrol units will remain in the area to prevent others from arriving and/or returning and to monitor surrounding streets as there’s been reports of stragglers urinating on people’s property and vehicles.
A majority of those who attended are not local.

We thank all for their assistance and patience.

NJ State Police Arrest Man In Connection Of Upper Freehold Burglaries

July 10, 2020

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Troopers Arrest Man for Commercial Burglary and Theft of Services

The New Jersey State Police have arrested Christopher Woods, 56, of Howell, N.J., for allegedly committing several burglaries at storage facility in Upper Freehold Township, Monmouth County.

On Friday, July 3, troopers from Hamilton Station began investigating multiple burglaries at the Store and Lock Self Storage facility in Cream Ridge, Monmouth County. As a result of the investigation, troopers identified Woods as the suspect of three burglaries at the facility during the month of May.

Troopers determined on three seperate occasions Woods used bolt cutters and stole approximately $ 5,000 worth of personal property. Troopers also discovered he failed to reimburse the facility for contracted services on numerous occasions totaling $1500.

Troopers located Woods later that day at a residence in Howell and arrested him without incident.

Christopher Woods was charged with burglary of a commercial structure and theft of services. He was released pending a court date.

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.