Category: Ocean County

BREAKING: Large Power Outage

September 28, 2020

UPDATE As of 9:30 parts of Robbinsville and Upper Freehold have been restored. Others in East Windsor and Hightstown are still out.

UPDATE At of 11:30 pm Hightstown and East Windsor is still without power and estimated restore time is 1:30 am.

UPDATE 9:00 am 9/29/2020 the outage reporting map is still showing some power failures in East Windsor and Millstone with an estimated 11:30 am restoration time. Most have been restored over night but a few are still without power.

ROBBINSVILLE-UPPER FREEHOLD- EAST WINDSOR- MILLSTONE– Wide area power problems in Robbinsville, East Windsor, Upper Freehold and Millstone in areas served by JCP&L no status or cause reported.

JCPL has been notified.

2020 Police Unity Tour Bike Ride Held In NJ


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


September 27, 2020

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

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

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

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


History of the Police Unity Tour:

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

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

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

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

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

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








Video provided by: Bucky For Sherriff








Seaside Heights Man Pleads Guilty To Aggravated Manslaughter

September 23, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on September 23, 2020, John T. Mullen Jr., 51, of Seaside Heights, pled guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4, before the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C. At the time of his sentencing on November 30, 2020, the State will be seeking a sentence of 30 years in New Jersey State Prison, subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.On October 20, 2019, Manchester Township Police responded to the Surf and Stream Campground after receiving multiple 911 calls about a body lying in the entrance driveway to the campground. Upon arrival, Manchester patrol units found the body of Thomas J. Applegate, 34, of Manchester, lying in the driveway of the Surf and Stream Campground with a wound in his chest. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. A joint investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Manchester Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit determined that Mullen stabbed Mr. Applegate during the course of a drug deal, which ultimately resulted in his death. Prosecutor Billhimer commends the fine work of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Abatemarco and Assistant Prosecutor Alyssa Mandara who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the collaborative efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Manchester Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, who collectively did an outstanding job investigating and resolving this matter. “Through good old-fashioned police work, these law enforcement agencies – acting together – expeditiously solved this heinous crime and identified Mullen as the individual responsible for Mr. Applegate’s death,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “As a result of their tremendous teamwork, for which I am extremely grateful, this dangerous man was swiftly apprehended, and will now be required to answer for his crime with a lengthy state prison sentence. Justice for Mr. Applegate and his family will be served,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

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.

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

Today Is National “Thank A Police Officer Day”

September 19, 2020

“Thank a Police Officer Day” is a national observance honoring law enforcement on the third Saturday in September. If you happen to see a police officer in your travels today, thank them for their service.

Thanks you law enforcement for keeping us safe.



Fatal Pedestrian Accident In Brick

September 19, 2020

BRICK, NJ (OCEAN)–On Friday, September 18, 2020 at 10:48 pm, Brick Township Police responded to a motor vehicle crash involving a pedestrian, James Sommers, 76, of Brick on Mantoloking Road between Fairfield Avenue and Piel Avenue.

Upon arrival they discovered that Pedestrian James Sommers had been struck by a 2020 Honda CRV driven by Donna Kutzner, 66, of Brick, as he attempted to cross the roadway. He was unconscious, unresponsive and was not breathing.  Officers initiated life saving measures which were continued by Brick Police Emergency Medical Services and Paramedics from Hackensack Hospital.  Sommers was transported to Brick Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

   The Brick Township Police Traffic Safety Unit responded to the scene along with the Ocean County Sheriffs Criminal Investigation Unit.  Traffic was detoured for several hours while the scene was processed.

   This crash is under investigation and we would ask anyone who may have witnessed it or has information related to the crash to please contact Ptl. J. Farnkopf #173 at (732) 262-1140.

Fatal Accident On Route 539 In Lacy Township

September 18, 2020 Updated at 5:15 with full press release, see below original story for complete information.

7:00 pm update a source traveling though the area says the roadway has been reopened.

LACEY TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Around 6:00 am this morning sources say that a dump truck and a car collided with entrapment around mile marker 19. Sources also say there was a fatality at the scene and a fuel spill. The roadway has remained closed though late afternoon for accident investigation and clean up.

Route 539 is still closed as of 4:30 pm between Route 72 and Harry Wright Blvd. in Manchester Township. Seek alternate routes if you need to travel in that area.


Full press release below:

Michael C. DiBella Chief of Police

Lacey Township Police Department PRESS RELEASE:

On Friday, September 18, 2020, at approximately 0600 hours, the Lacey Township Police Department responded to a report of a motor vehicle crash on County Route 539 in the vicinity of mile marker 19.5. Initial reports indicated entrapment of an occupant of one vehicle that was fully engulfed in flames. Investigation at the scene revealed that a 2000 Lexus operated by a 37-year-old female from Staten Island, NY, was traveling north in the southbound lane on County Road 539 approaching mile marker 19.5.

A 2006 Kenworth tri-axle dump truck was traveling south at the same time and the Lexus struck the front of the dump truck at a high rate of speed.

Witnesses reported that the operator of the Lexus had passed multiple vehicles well in excess of the posted 55 MPH speed limit while traveling north just prior to the crash. Witnesses further reported that after passing another vehicle the operator of the Lexus failed to return to the northbound lane, and continued traveling north in the southbound lane, right into the path of the dump truck.

The impact caused the Lexus to burst into flames upon colliding with the truck, with the occupant still inside the vehicle. By all accounts it does not appear the initial impact was survivable. The operator of the dump truck, Sergio Pernilla, 37, of Hamilton, New Jersey suffered minor injury.

The identity of the driver of the Lexus is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The crash resulted in significant damage to the vehicles involved and caused the roadway to be shut down for an extended period of time. The crash also caused the diesel fuel tank of the dump truck to become compromised, resulting in the spill of a significant amount of diesel fuel onto the roadway.

As of 1500 hours on today’s date, clean-up efforts are still underway and the road remains closed. It is estimated that the roadway should be reopened by late evening.

The Forked River and Bamber Lakes Fire Department, Berkeley HAZMAT Team, Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police, Stafford Township Police Department, Barnegat Police Department, Ocean County Road Department, NJ State DOT, and Accurate Towing all assisted with the investigation and/or clean-up efforts. Sergeant Robert Flynn, Lacey Township Police Department, is investigating the crash.

Eight Arrested In Seaside

September 16, 2020

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ (OCEAN)–On September 14, 2020, a YouTube group identified as The Nelk Boys rented the Jersey Shore House, located at 1209 Boardwalk. During the afternoon hours a small crowd of followers began to gather at the residence, a representative from the Nelk Boys requested from the Police Department one Off-Duty Police Security Officer to stand by with the group in addition to their security.

Over a short period of time, the crowd began to grow into a group of approximately 1500 people. In addition to this gathering, a NJ car club also gathered in the area of Dupont and Ocean Terrance at approximately 8:30 pm identified as Full Send NJ car club which consisted of approximately 1000 followers.

At approximately 7:30 pm outside the jersey shore house a male subject was placed under arrest for a disorderly person offense where glass bottles and rocks were thrown at officers during and after the arrest, additional officers from surrounding towns were called in to assist Seaside Heights Police with crowd control due to both locations in town being overwhelmed with disorderly person offenses.

Chief Thomas J. Boyd ordered the town to be closed off to non-resident traffic until this incident was brought under control.

Eight people were arrested during this incident and are identified as the following:

Nicolas Conner – Hackettstown NJ, Age 22 2C:33-2A Disorderly Conduct 2C:29-2A Resisting Arrest

Conner Utter – Hackettstown NJ, Age 22 2C:33-2A Disorderly Conduct

Seth Wilson – Toms River NJ, Age 20 2C:33-2A Disorderly Conduct

Jonathon Downey – Brick NJ, Age 21 2C:33-2A Disorderly Conduct

James Canas – Linden NJ, Age 19 2C:29-1 Obstruction

John Ojeda – Muniz – Linden NJ, Age18 2C:33-2A Disorderly Conduct

Adewusi Oluwatomi – Avenel NJ, Age 26 2C:33-2A Disorderly Conduct

David Dasilva – Kearney NJ, Age 21 2C:29-1 Obstruction

Officers gained complete crowd control over the crowds at approximately 12:00 am with the assistance of the following agencies: Ocean County Prosecutors Office Ocean County Sheriffs Department Bay Head PD Mantoloking PD Lavallette PD Brick PD Toms River PD Seaside Park PD Island Heights PD Berkley PD Seaside Heights Fire Department Station 44 Tri-Boro First Aid Squad

The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are accusations only. Every criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

Nelk Boys YouTube:


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.

Driver Injured At New Egypt Speedway Flown To Trenton

September 12, 2020

NEW EGYPT – PLUMSTED TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–A driver was injured when his race car flipped this evening around 6:15 pm. at the New Egypt Speedway on Route 539. RWJ Barnabas Life Flight medical helicopter was called to the scene and the driver was flown to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.

It was First Responders – Modified Championship Night at the speedway.

No update was available on the condition of the driver.

A New Jersey State Police helicopter was also dropping off a patient at Capital Health Regional Medical Center late this afternoon for an unknown condition. Shortly after the NJSP helicopter left Capital Health the RWJ Life Life Flight helicopter arrived.


A New Jersey State Police helicopter was also dropping off a patient at Capital Health Regional Medical Center late this afternoon for an unknown condition. Shortly after the NJSP helicopter left Capital Health the RWJ Life Life Flight helicopter arrived.

Bayville, NJ and Delray Beach, FL Men Charged In $2.5 Million Healthcare Fraud and Unlawful Disclosure Of Patient Information

Keith Ritson, 40, of Bayville, New Jersey, and Frank Alario, M.D., 63, of Delray Beach, Florida, are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, as well as individual acts of health care fraud and wire fraud. Both men are charged with a second conspiracy to wrongfully obtain and disclose patients’ individually identifiable health information. Alario is additionally charged with making false statements in a health care matter, and Ritson faces additional charges of conspiring to commit money laundering and substantive counts of money laundering.

September 10, 2020

CAMDEN, NJ –A federal grand jury has returned a 16-count indictment charging a physician and pharmaceutical sales representative with defrauding New Jersey state health benefits programs and other insurers out of more than $2.5 million by submitting fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary prescriptions, as well as unlawfully obtaining and disclosing individually identifiable patient health information protected by HIPAA, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Keith Ritson, 40, of Bayville, New Jersey, and Frank Alario, M.D., 63, of Delray Beach, Florida, are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, as well as individual acts of health care fraud and wire fraud. Both men are charged with a second conspiracy to wrongfully obtain and disclose patients’ individually identifiable health information. Alario is additionally charged with making false statements in a health care matter, and Ritson faces additional charges of conspiring to commit money laundering and substantive counts of money laundering.

The cases are assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden. The indicted defendants are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio in Camden federal court via videoconference on Sept. 10, 2020.

According to the indictment:

Compounded medications are specialty medications mixed by a pharmacist to meet the specific medical needs of an individual patient. Although compounded drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are properly prescribed when a physician determines that an FDA-approved medication does not meet the health needs of a particular patient, such as if a patient is allergic to a dye or other ingredient.

The conspirators recruited individuals to obtain very expensive and medically unnecessary compounded medications from a Louisiana pharmacy, Central Rexall Drugs Inc. (Central Rexall). The conspirators learned that certain compound medication prescriptions – including pain, scar, antifungal, and libido creams, and vitamin combinations – would be reimbursed by insurance providers in amounts in the thousands of dollars for a one-month supply.

The conspirators also learned that some New Jersey state and local government and education employees, including teachers, police officers, and state troopers, had insurance coverage for these particular compound medications. An entity referred to in the indictment as the “Pharmacy Benefits Administrator” provided pharmacy benefit management services for the State Health Benefits Program, which covers qualified state and local government employees, retirees, and eligible dependents, the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program, which covers qualified local education employees, retirees, and eligible dependents, and other insurance plans. The Pharmacy Benefits Administrator would pay prescription drug claims and then bill the State of New Jersey or the other insurance plans for the amounts paid.

In the first charged conspiracy, Ritson recruited individuals with prescription drug benefits administered by the Pharmacy Benefits Administrator to receive unnecessary compound medication prescriptions, which Alario signed without examining, speaking with, or establishing a physician-patient relationship with the patient. Alario sent a form to Central Rexall’s compliance program in which he falsely attested that he saw and spoke with patients in person and established a physician-patient relationship prior to prescribing Central Rexall medications. Ritson and Alario earmarked established patients of Alario’s medical practices who had insurance that covered the expensive compound medications. Alario prescribed the medications not for the patient’s need or request, but for the benefits he and Ritson stood to gain. The scheme caused the Pharmacy Benefits Administrator to pay over $2.5 million for the fraudulent prescriptions. For his role in the scheme, Ritson received a percentage of the amount that Central Rexall received from the Pharmacy Benefits Administrator for the medications, and Alario benefitted by receiving free meals, entertainment, travel, and other remuneration from Ritson.

The indictment also charges Ritson and Alario with a separate scheme to wrongfully obtain and disclose individually identifiable patient health information for their own personal gain and commercial advantage. As a sales representative not affiliated with Alario’s medical practices, Ritson should not have had access to patients’ confidential information. However, since only certain insurances covered the compound medications promoted by Ritson, the defendants accessed patient files and other identifying information to ascertain patients’ insurance coverage. On at least one occasion, Ritson and Alario jointly accessed patient information on an office computer for the purpose of determining insurance coverage for the medications. Ritson also had access to parts of Alario’s office where patient information was stored or could be heard and observed, including employee-restricted areas with medical files, fax machines, and computers. Ritson was also frequently present in exam rooms during patient appointments with Alario for the purpose of promoting the compound medications, at which time Alario commonly introduced Ritson to his patients as his “nephew” or gave the impression that Ritson was affiliated with the medical practice. By being present during the patient exams, Ritson had access to patients’ medical files and protected health information.

The health care fraud and wire fraud conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison; each wire fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison; each health care fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; the false statement count and the conspiracy to wrongfully obtain or disclose individually identifiable patient health information count each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison; and the money laundering charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. All of the offenses are also each punishable by a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited agents of the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark; and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael C. Mikulka, with the investigation leading to the indictment. He also thanked the Division of Pensions and Financial Transactions in the State Attorney General’s Office, under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Division Chief Aimee Nason, for its assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christina O. Hud and R. David Walk Jr. of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden.

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

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Defense counsel:
Alario: Kevin Marino Esq., Chatham Township, New Jersey
Ritson: Eric Kanefsky Esq., Newark

Vehicle Stops Lead to $33k+ In Cash and 202 Grams Of Cocaine, 2 Charged

September 9, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Tuesday, September 8th, 2020, members of the Toms River Police Department Special Enforcement Team were conducting surveillance on the east end of the Township. During this surveillance, officers observed suspicious activity that resulted in two separate motor vehicle stops.

The first motor vehicle stop and subsequent investigation led to the arrest of Jameer Jones, 26 of Toms River. Mr. Jones was found to be in possession of approximately 202 grams of cocaine and packaging material. The second motor vehicle stop, which was related to the first stop, led to the arrest of Gregory Deas, 47 of Asbury Park. Mr. Deas was found to be in possession of $33,703.00 in U.S. currency.

Jameer Jones was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of cocaine over 5 ounces with the intent to distribute (first degree) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Gregory Deas was charged with obstructing the administration of law, resisting arrest, possession of cocaine and distribution of over 5 ounces of cocaine.

Members from the department Patrol Division and K-9 Unit assisted the Special Enforcement Team with the investigation.

The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are accusations only. Every criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

Pemberton and Bayville, NJ Men Sentenced to Prison on Charges Resulting from Undercover Sweep “Operation Open House” Targeting Child Predators on Social Media

September 9, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that two men were sentenced to state prison today for attempting to lure underage girls they met on social media to meet for sexual encounters.  The “girls” in reality were undercover detectives participating in “Operation Open House,” a multi-agency undercover operation in September 2018 led by the Attorney General’s Office that resulted in arrests of 24 men who allegedly were using social media to lure underage girls and boys for sexual activity.

William Singleton, 25, of Pemberton, N.J., and Charles Schlottfeld, 28, of Bayville, N.J., were each sentenced today to four years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan in Ocean County.  Each man pleaded guilty to second-degree luring, Singleton on Feb. 3, 2020, and Schlottfeld, on July 22, 2020.  Both men will be required to register as sex offenders under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.

Deputy Attorney General Thomas Huynh prosecuted Singleton and Deputy Attorney General Rachael Weeks prosecuted Schlottfeld for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau. 

Both men were arrested in September 2018 during Operation Open House.  In each case, an undercover detective with the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force encountered the defendant on social media, and the defendant, believing the undercover detective was a 14-year-old girl, asked the “girl” to meet him for sexual activity.  Both Singleton and Schlottfeld discussed in detail the sexual acts they would perform with the underage girl.  Singleton was arrested on Sept. 7, 2018, and Schlottfeld was arrested on Sept. 9, 2018.  They were arrested when they arrived at the undercover house in Toms River, where dozens of officers and agents participating in Operation Open House were prepared to arrest offenders and process any evidence seized. 

“With these prison sentences, we are sending a strong message to predators who think they can freely hunt for vulnerable children online,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “We will continue to identify and arrest these offenders because there is no higher priority for us than the safety of our children.  But at a time when more young people are online as a result of the pandemic, we especially need parents and guardians to do their part by warning children that these dangerous predators use popular social media services, gaming platforms, and chat apps to target unsuspecting victims.”

“We will never cease in our efforts to arrest those who use the internet and social media to sexually exploit children, either by distributing child sexual abuse materials or by grooming children to sexually abuse or assault,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice.  “We want predators like Singleton and Schlottfeld to know the child they stalk online may turn out to be a law enforcement officer.”

In addition to investigating cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, members of the New Jersey State Police ICAC Unit, the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, and the New Jersey ICAC Task Force routinely conduct undercover chat investigations on social media platforms leading to arrests of hands-on offenders and defendants seeking to lure children.  They also conduct proactive investigations to apprehend offenders by monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and identifying the IP addresses of individuals sharing child sexual abuse materials.

Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urge anyone with information about the distribution of child sexual abuse materials on the internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.

Defense Attorneys

For Singleton: Assistant Deputy Public Defender Marissa K. DeAnna, Ocean County

For Schlottfeld: Alexandra Nieves-Martinez , Esq., Berkeley Township, N.J.

Toms River Man Charged With Vehicular Homicide

September 9, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Roberto Sandoval-Guerrero, 37, of Toms River, has been charged with Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5b(1) relative to the death of Daniel Cintron on September 5, 2020. Sandoval-Guerrero was also charged with Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1; Causing Death or Injury While Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-22a; Assault by Auto in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1c(1); and Resisting Arrest in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a(2).

On Saturday, September 5, 2020, the New Jersey State Police received a report of a pedestrian having been struck by a motor vehicle in the area of Garden State Parkway South at or about mile-marker post 86 in Toms River, with said vehicle then fleeing the scene. The investigation determined that Daniel Cintron had previously been involved in a minor motor vehicle accident with another driver, Frank Puglisi. The men exited their vehicles and were in the process of exchanging insurance information on the shoulder of the Parkway when they were struck by a 2002 Mercury Mountaineer operated by Sandoval-Guerrero. Mr. Puglisi was struck on his left arm, while Mr. Cintron was thrown into the lanes of travel where he was run over by passing traffic. Mr. Cintron was pronounced dead at the scene. Further investigation revealed that Sandoval-Guerrero continued to operate the vehicle southbound on the Garden State Parkway; he ultimately abandoned the vehicle on the shoulder and fled on foot. Sandoval-Guerrero was eventually located in the area of Route 9 and Church Road and taken into custody. Sandoval-Guerrero is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to commend the collective efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, New Jersey State Police, Toms River Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their collaborative assistance in this investigation leading to Sandoval-Guerrero’s apprehension.

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.

Arrests Made In Point Pleasant Beach Stabbings, Victims Identified

September 7, 2020 Updated September 8, 2020

September 8, 2020 afternoon update:

POINT PLEASANT, NJ (0CEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Point Pleasant Beach Chief of Police Joseph A. Michigan have identified the two victims of the stabbings that occurred in Point Pleasant Beach on Monday, September 7, 2020. The victims are identified as Alex Galdamez, 22, and William Mazariegogo, 18, both of West Haverstraw, New York. Both victims sustained multiple stab wounds. Both victims are in serious but stable condition at Jersey Shore Medical Center. A 17 year-old male juvenile from Newark, New Jersey, has been charged with two counts of Attempted Murder.

September 8, 2020 morning update:

POINT PLEASANT, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Point Pleasant Beach Chief of Police Joseph A. Michigan announced that a juvenile from Newark has been arrested and charged with two counts of Attempted Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a and N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 in connection with a stabbing of two males that occurred in Point Pleasant Beach on Monday, September 7, 2020. The juvenile was also charged with Possession of a Weapon – specifically a knife — for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d, as well as Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d. The juvenile is being detained in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center.
Due to the fact that that the individual charged with these offenses is a juvenile, the law prohibits the release of any additional information.
“Our collaborative investigation revealed that this juvenile was responsible for both stabbings. We did have two individuals in custody last night, but only one of them is responsible for both stabbings. Both victims are in serious but stable condition this morning,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.
“Everyone involved from the moment this heinous crime occurred really went above and beyond. The Jenkinson’s Lifeguards, Jenkinson’s management and security staff and the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department, collectively, are the reason these two young men are still alive and we have the right person in custody,” Prosecutor Billhimer added.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Michigan wish to acknowledge the hard work and diligence of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Point Pleasant Beach Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their collaborative efforts leading to the suspect’s apprehension.

The public and the press are reminded that all individuals charged with criminal offenses are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


POINT PLEASANT (OCEAN)–This afternoon a fight broke out on the beach in Point Pleasant in the area of 300 Boardwalk. Two male victims were stabbed and transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center.

Two male subjects are in custody at Point Pleasant Beach Police Department. The police report that there is no threat to the public.

The Point Pleasant Beach Police Department states that this in an ongoing investigation and further information will be provided at a later date.

Fire Quickly Knocked Down In Ship Bottom

September 6, 2020

SHIP BOTTOM, NJ (OCEAN)–Around 12:40 am a fire broke out at 1815 Long Beach Boulevard a neighboring Ship Bottom firefighter was able to knock down the fire quickly with a home fire extinguisher. Upon arrival of the fire department firefighters made entry and found fire extension into the wall and roof area by the awning. Firefighters used a 1 3/4″ line to wet down the area. The Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.

Trump Boat Parade Draws Thousands

September 6, 2020

SHIP BOTTOM, NJ (OCEAN)–Estimates of 2,500 boats participated in a Trump Boat Parade that was also supporting Law Enforcement Officers and Veterans yesterday.

Boaters are congregated at the mouth of Tom’s River in Barnegat Bay and split into two major groups north bound and south bound.

The northbound parade started at the mouth of Toms River and past the Mantoloking Bridge, F-Cove and Bay Head.

The southbound parade started from the mouth of the Toms River and went past the Manahawkin Bridge all the way down to Beach Haven. A large group of boaters anchored in Ship Bottom after the parade.



Off Duty Lakewood Police Officer Dies In Motorcycle Crash In Jackson Twp

September 6, 2020

Please keep the Lakewood Police Department in your prayers they lost an off duty active police officer and a retired officer yesterday.

JACKSON-LAKEWOOD, NJ (OCEAN)–A fatal accident occurred around 4:54 pm in the 100 Block of Thompson Bridge Road involving a motorcycle, yesterday afternoon. Jackson Township Fire Department, Jackson Township EMS and Jackson Township Police all responded to the scene to try and save the man that was reported to be an off duty Lakewood Police Officer. Lakewood Township Police Department has announced the officer’s passing see below:

It is with an extremely heavy heart that the Lakewood Police Department announces the untimely passing of Officer Nicklas Shimonovich.

Twenty-three year old Nicklas Shimonovich was involved in an off duty motorcycle accident in Jackson Township earlier this afternoon in which he sustained life threatening injuries. He was transported to Monmouth Medical Southern Campus were he tragically succumbed to his injuries a short time later. At this time the accident is under investigation by the Jackson Township Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutors Office.

Officer Shimonovich was hired in March of 2018 and was assigned to our Patrol Division on the evening shift. He was well respected by his peers, supervisors and the community he loved to serve. We ask that you keep him and his family and friends in your thoughts during this difficult time.


Jackson Police Department News Release

Fatal MVC Investigation

On Saturday September 5, 2020 at 4:54 pm, officers and emergency personnel responded to Thompson Bridge Road on the report of a motor vehicle crash with injuries involving a motorcycle.

Responding officers and First Aid located the single vehicle and driver which was involved in this incident and provided care and transported the driver to an area hospital where he succumbed to the injuries received in the crash.

The driver was identified as Nicklas Shimonovich, age 23 of Jackson, NJ.

Initial investigation of the crash indicated that Mr. Shimonovich was travelling east on Thompson Bridge Road on a 2015 Harley Davidson when the motorcycle ran off the roadway and struck a mailbox and utility trailer which was parked on a property. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

The crash is under investigation by the department’s Traffic Safety Unit. Anyone who may have witnessed this crash is asked to contact Police Officer Tristan Bennett or Kevin Chesney at 732-928-1111.

Captain Steven Laskiewicz
Investigations Division Commander
Jackson Township Police Department
September 6, 2020



The Lakewood Police Department has also lost a retired member of their force Det. Larry Doyle #189 (Retired).

It’s been a sad day for the Lakewood Police Department.

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Det. Larry Doyle #189 (Retired).

Det. Doyle was hired by the Lakewood Police Department in September of 1980. After 25 years and 4 months of service he retired in December of 2005.

Det. Doyle spent many years in our Patrol Division where he made numerous arrests and helped train newly hired Officers.

In 2002, he earned the rank of Detective and conducting numerous investigations involving burglary, theft and stolen cars.

Det. Doyle was also our resident expert regarding Hazardous Materials Training. Something he had vast knowledge in due to his time with the Fire Service.

Law Enforcment, Firefighting and his Family were his passion.

Rumson Businessman Charged With Theft

Anthony Goltsch, of Manchester Township in Ocean County, and the owner of the Golden Goose jewelry store located at 7 West River Road in Rumson, was charged today with second degree Theft By Failure To Make Required Disposition of Property Received.

September 3, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The owner of a Rumson jewelry store was charged with theft today after failing to return jewelry totaling over $260,000 that was left at his store on consignment or for redesign, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Anthony Goltsch, of Manchester Township in Ocean County, and the owner of the Golden Goose jewelry store located at 7 West River Road in Rumson, was charged today with second degree Theft By Failure To Make Required Disposition of Property Received.

Over the last several months, The Rumson Police Department received complaints from three customers of the store who reported that they had left pieces of jewelry for either consignment or redesign at the Golden Goose, and Goltsch has failed to pay them any cash proceeds or return the jewelry despite numerous requests by the customers.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Rumson Police Department uncovered three victims who have failed to receive any payment from Goltsch or a return of the items involved in the theft.

The first victim reported that between July and August 2017, she consigned two rings for sale at the Golden Goose with a combined appraisal value of over $180,000.  To-date she has not received payment for the rings from Goltsch, and he has failed to return the rings, despite the victim’s numerous requests.

The second victim reported that she consigned eight pieces of jewelry to the Golden Goose in March 2019, with a combined appraisal value of approximately $59,000.  She has not received payment for the jewelry from Goltsch despite numerous requests made and he has failed to return any of the pieces.

The third victim reported that in June 2019, she brought three pieces of jewelry to the Golden Goose to be redesigned.  The jewelry had an appraised value of approximately $24,000.  As with the other victims, despite numerous requests for the jewelry to be returned, Goltsch has refused to do so. 

If anyone has information regarding the Golden Goose, please contact Detective Michael Acquaviva of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Financial Crimes Unit at 732-431-7160, ext 2233, or Rumson Police Detective Donald Schneider at 732-842-0500.

If convicted of the Theft charge, Goltsch faces a sentence of five to ten years in a New Jersey state prison. 

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence Nelsen.

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.

Many Gyms Reopen Today At 25% Capacity Many Have Modified Hours

Many gyms reopened this morning, check with your local gym prior to working out.

September 1, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy has allowed gyms to reopen today with a 25% capacity, you also have to wear a mask and follow other rules while working out.

In Robbinsville the crowds were light during lunch hour for the reopening of the gyms visit Jersey Stong’s web page for modified hours, cleaning schedules and other club information. It is highly recommended to download the Jersey Strong App to see what the club capacity is prior to visiting the gym. The application gives you an exact number of how many are working out in the club at one time.

The crowd was also light at Planet Fitness in Hamilton during lunch hour. Planet Fitness also has modified hours and is using a Crowd Meter available on the Planet Fitness App to give you a heads up how busy the gym is prior to arrival. There were not many cars in the parking lot at Planet Fitness during lunch hour and nothing was registering on the Crowd Meter.

Robert Wood Johnson Fitness and Wellness Center is set to reopen on Monday September 8, 2020 at 5:00 am. See RWJ Fitness and Wellness announcement here.



For Jersey Strong covid-19 reopening information go to this link.

Planet Fitness Covid-19 information here

Robert Wood Johnson Fitness and Welness Center



NJ’s Two Largest Wine & Spirits Wholesalers and 20 of Their Biggest Retail Customers to Pay a Total of $10.3 Million for Engaging in Discriminatory Trade Practices

Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Imposes Record-High $4 Million Penalties on Wholesalers Allied Beverage Group & Fedway Associates Following Two-Year Investigation into Their Misuse of Rebate Programs.

September 1, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) today announced that New Jersey’s two largest wine and spirits wholesalers will pay $4 million each to resolve findings that they engaged in discriminatory trade practices that unfairly favored their largest retail customers. In addition, twenty retailers statewide will pay a total of $2.3 million for their part in the unlawful scheme.

In separate Consent Orders with ABC, wholesalers Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates agreed to pay record-high monetary penalties and change their business practices to resolve trade violations uncovered during a sweeping two-year investigation by ABC’s Enforcement and Investigations Bureaus.

The investigation found that the wholesalers – which together account for approximately 70% of all wine and 80% of all spirits sold at wholesale in the State – unfairly favored 20 of the State’s largest wine and spirits retailers and put smaller retailers at a competitive disadvantage by manipulating the retailer incentive program (RIP), granting credit extensions and interest-free loans, and engaging in other discriminatory practices.

 “Simply put, Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates rigged the market in favor of a handpicked group of powerful retailers, leaving smaller businesses struggling to compete.  The unprecedented monetary penalties imposed reflect the egregiousness of this conduct and the widespread negative impact it had on New Jersey consumers and retailers,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “This settlement sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this manipulative and anticompetitive behavior.” 

The RIPs provide cash rebates payed to retailers by wholesalers for purchasing certain quantities of alcoholic beverages.  ABC regulations control the program by making RIPs available to all retailers on a non-discriminatory basis, by keeping the RIP payments to retailers relatively small, and by not allowing wholesalers to substitute RIPs for interest-free loans.

The investigation found that Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates were giving chosen retailers a financial advantage by issuing rebates more often and in greater amounts than allowed. They also failed to wait the required 30 days before issuing rebates, thus allowing those retailers to use that money to pay for the orders for which the rebates  were issued, which is against ABC regulations. Retailers who do not pay for orders within 30 days are put on an industry-wide cash-only delivery status, so the early rebates ensured that the larger retailers would have a ready cash flow to pay for their orders on time, giving them an unfair edge over smaller retailers who had to use their own money to pay for their wine and spirits orders within the required 30-day window. The investigation also found that Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates falsified records related to RIPs and/or used undocumented gift cards to make cash payments to chosen retailers that were not accounted for.

“Retail incentives are a legitimate marketing tool as long they are above board and available equally to all retailers. Discriminatory practices like these foster instability in the market by harming smaller retailers,” said James Graziano, Acting Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “If left unchecked, the ability of small retailers to remain in business may have been jeopardized and consumers would have less access to retail stores and the specialized product selections that they offer. We will continue to monitor industry practices to ensure an equal playing field in New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage retail industry and hold violators accountable for noncompliance.”   

The monetary payments from Allied and Fedway are the largest in ABC’s history, and in addition, both entities each agreed to adopt a corrective action plan; employ a compliance monitor for two years; make upgrades to their computer systems; and facilitate the retirement, resignation and/or termination of certain employees.

The following retailers were charged with ABC violations that included accepting the delivery of alcoholic beverages from Allied and/or Fenway upon terms that violated ABC regulations; accepting a loan from a wholesaler to pay a wholesaler and/or avoid being placed on cash-on-delivery status; receiving a RIP before paying the invoice, receiving a RIP in excess of allowed maximum on a product. Each retailer entered a Consent Order with ABC to resolve the charges, with the following settlement terms:  

  •        Leiham Corp., t/a Bayway World of Liquors: $375,000 monetary offer in compromise in lieu of suspension plus phased-in               retirement of manager and other corrective action. (ELIZABETH)
  •        SVGS Inc., t/a Vingo Wine and Spirits: $90,000 (including $62,500 unaccounted for cash seized from the store) monetary offer in compromise in lieu of suspension plus corrective action. (EATONTOWN)

US Army Staff Sgt. Vincent P. Marketta of Brick, NJ Dies In Aircraft Mishap While Training In California

August 29, 2020

By USASOC Public Affairs Office

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Staff Sgt. Vincent P. Marketta, 33, of Brick, New Jersey, and Sgt. Tyler M. Shelton, 22, of San Bernardino, California, died August 27, from injuries sustained during an aircraft mishap while conducting aviation training on San Clemente Island, California.

“The loss of Staff Sgt. Marketta and Sgt. Shelton has left a scar in this Regiment that will never completely heal,” said Col. Andrew R. Graham, commander of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). “Their level of dedication to the 160th SOAR (A) and their exemplary service in the Army is the embodiment of what it means to be a Night Stalker and a Soldier. Our priority now is to ensure the Families of our fallen warriors receive our complete support as we work through this tragedy together. We ask that you keep Staff Sgt. Marketta, Sgt. Shelton, their Families and fellow Night Stalkers in your thoughts and prayers.”

Staff Sgt. Marketta, a native of Brick, New Jersey, enlisted in the Army in 2011, as a 15T UH-60 “Black Hawk” Repairer. He was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) upon completing Advanced Individual Training, and the Regiment’s extensive training and assessment program in 2012. He spent 18 months as an aircraft repairer in 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR (A).  In 2014, Marketta remained in 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR (A) for service as an MH-60M Crew Chief.

While assigned to 160th SOAR (A), Marketta deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and deployed multiple times to Iraq in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.

He graduated from the Enlisted Combat Skills; Combatives Level 1; MH-60 Maintainers Course; Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape School; MH-60 Non-Rated Crew Member Course; the Basic and Advanced Leaders Courses; and the MH-60 Flight Instructors Course.

Staff Sgt. Marketta’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal with V device; Air Medal with C device; Air Medal; Army Commendation Medal with C device (2OLC); Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal (1OLC); Army Good Conduct

Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (Campaign Star); Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 2); Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; Combat Action Badge; and the Basic Aviator’s Badge.

Sgt. Shelton, a native of San Bernardino, California, enlisted in the Army in 2016, as a 15T UH-60 “Black Hawk” Repairer. He was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) upon completing Advanced Individual Training, and the Regiment’s extensive training and assessment program in 2017. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR (A) where he spent eight months as an MH-60M Repairer. In 2018, Shelton remained in 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR (A) for service as an MH-60M Crew Chief.

While assigned to 160th SOAR (A), Shelton deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

He graduated from the Enlisted Combat Skills; Combatives Level 1; MH-60 Maintainers Course; Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape School; MH-60 Non-Rated Crew Member Course; and the Basic Leaders Course.

Sgt. Shelton’s awards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (Campaign Star); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; and the Basic Aviator’s Badge.

Both Staff Sgt. Marketta and Sgt. Shelton will receive the Meritorious Service Medal posthumously.


20 Year Old Lakehurst Man Arrested On Numerous Charges In Toms River

Jaylin Evans, 20, was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault, Terroristic Threats, Criminal Mischief, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, False Imprisonment, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Simple Assault, Possession of a Large Capacity Magazine.

August 27, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Wednesday August 26, 2020 at approximately 12:00 PM multiple police units responded to the Main Street Apartments in reference to a civil matter involving a handgun. The victim stated suspect Jaylin Evans, 20 of Lakehurst, pointed a handgun at her during an argument. He then struck her in the head and pushed her into the walls of the residence, blocking her path and not allowing her to leave, stating numerous times that he would kill her. Before fleeing the residence, he damaged the victim’s cellular phone and television.

Police officers located the suspect in a neighboring apartment and he was placed under arrest. A consent to search the apartment was signed by the tenant and revealed a backpack owned by the suspect. Inside the backpack was a loaded 9MM handgun which had an extended magazine. An additional magazine containing 4 rounds was located in the backpack as well. Jaylin Evans was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault, Terroristic Threats, Criminal Mischief, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, False Imprisonment, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Simple Assault, Possession of a Large Capacity Magazine. He is lodged on Ocean County Jail.

The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are accusations only. Every criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy Permanently Revokes License of Massage Therapist Who Inappropriately Touched Female Client During Massage

Board’s Action is Part of Ongoing Crackdown on Sexual Misconduct & Abuse by Licensed Professionals

August 27, 2020


www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases20/20200825_18KT00973200-Popper-Final-Order.pdf

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Furthering its efforts to protect the public from sexual misconduct and abuse in professional settings, the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) today announced that the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy (“the Board”) has permanently revoked the license of a massage therapist who engaged in inappropriate and unwanted sexual contact with a female client during a massage session at a Hand and Stone spa in Somers Point. 

John R. Popper, 48, of Little Egg Harbor is permanently barred from working as a massage therapist in New Jersey under a Final Order filed by the Board this week. Popper is the third massage therapist this year — and the ninth in the last 12 months — to have his license revoked by the Board as a result of sexual misconduct in the workplace. 

Concerns about unwanted sexual contact in professional settings have prompted the Division, under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, to undertake a sweeping review of how its 51 professional boards address allegations involving sexual misconduct and abuse by its licensees and applicants to ensure that boards uniformly adopt best practices and enforce their rules. The boards oversee approximately 720,000 active licensed professionals, from accountants and doctors to plumbers, veterinarians, and massage therapists. 

The review, which is currently underway, is evaluating how boards screen applicants for licenses, approach investigations of alleged misconduct and discipline and engage with complainants who report abuses by a licensee or applicant. “No client or patient should ever have to fear for their personal safety while interacting with a licensed professional in this state,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We are committed to ensuring that all our professional boards hold licensees to the same strict standards, and act swiftly to address allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse involving licensees. By revoking the licenses of massage therapists who prey on their clients, the Board is carrying out its duty to protect the public.”

 “When you see a massage therapist you put your trust in their hands,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Therapists who violate that trust can cause real and long-lasting damage to their victims and are a danger to our community. We are pleased that the Board, through its actions, is sending a message that this kind of conduct will not be tolerated.” 

Popper is the latest massage therapist disciplined for inappropriately touching a client. On July 31, 2020, the Board voted unanimously to permanently revoke Popper’s license, effective immediately, after Popper was criminally convicted of harassment by offensive touching in Somers Point Municipal Court for placing his hand on a client’s vagina during a massage. Popper was originally charged with criminal sexual contact but the charge was downgraded to harassment, a disorderly persons offense, and remanded to municipal court. The Board accepted the State’s argument that Popper’s license should be revoked on the grounds that, among other things, he engaged in professional misconduct and committed a crime of moral turpitude. 

In a Final Order filed on Aug. 25, 2020, the Board concluded that Popper’s conduct was “so egregious and morally reprehensible, and so fundamentally at odds with anything that we would expect of a massage therapist that nothing short of permanent revocation would be sufficient to protect the public health, safety and welfare.” 

Since July 2019, the Board has revoked the licenses of eight other massage therapists for sexual misconduct.

They are: 

  • Asad Aliyev – License permanently revoked on July 25, 2020, for allegedly touching a female client inappropriately during a massage therapy session at a Hand and Stone spa in Allendale.
  • Aaron Coile – License revoked on January 28, 2020, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at the Sage Body and Mind spa in Voorhees.
  • Premkumar Perumal – License permanently revoked on October 22, 2019, for allegedly touching a female client inappropriately during a massage therapy session at a Hand and Stone Massage & Facial Spa in Clark. Perumal also allegedly inappropriately touched another female client while working at a Massage Envy in Hoboken. 
  • Magdy Masek – License permanently revoked on October 22, 2019, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at a Massage Envy in Piscataway.
  • Frank Giordano – License permanently revoked on September 24, 2019, for allegedly touching two female clients inappropriately during massage therapy sessions at Alternative Bodyworks in Nutley.
  • Michael Egan – License permanently revoked on September 19, 2019, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at a Massage Envy in Closter.
  • Leonardo Drittij – License permanently revoked on September 18, 2019, for allegedly touching a female client inappropriately, engaging in a conversation of an intimate sexual nature with her, and failing to drape her properly during a massage therapy session at a Massage Envy.
  • Jonathan Higgins – License permanently revoked on July 16, 2019, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at a Hand and Stone Massage & Facial Spa in Brick.  Higgins has been charged with sexual assault in connection with that alleged incident.

 In addition to taking disciplinary action against licensees for alleged sexual contact with clients, the Board has adopted new rules to help prevent and detect sexual misconduct and abuse in the industry. Those rules, among other things: 

  • Require massage therapists to notify the Board of criminal, civil, administrative, and employment actions against them. Every licensee is required to notify the Board within 10 days of action against the licensee by criminal authorities, including an arrest, indictment, or conviction; within 10 days of the licensee being named in a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding involving misconduct relating to his or her practice; within 10 days of disciplinary action by any state licensing authority; and within 10 days of action against the licensee by an employer based on client care concerns.
  • Require massage therapists to report misconduct by others. Every licensee is required to report any incident or series of incidents that the licensee believes may violate the applicable statutes and rules, including violations by other massage therapists of the rules relating to sexual misconduct. Additional reporting requirements apply if a licensee possesses information indicating that another licensee or healthcare professional presents an imminent danger to the public or any individual.
  • Protect minors from abuse. For clients under the age of 18, licensees need to obtain written consent of the client’s parent or legal guardian before providing massage or bodywork services.  For clients under the age of 16, the client’s parent or legal guardian would need to be in the room while the services are provided.

 Investigators with the Enforcement Bureau within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted investigations in these cases. Deputy Attorney General Daniel Hewitt, of the Professional Boards Prosecution Section within the Division of Law, represented the State in the Popper matter. Deputy Attorney General Roman Guzik, of the Consumer Affairs Counseling Section within the Division of Law, represented the State in the other matters.   Clients who believe that they have been treated by a licensed massage therapist in an inappropriate manner can file a complaint online by visiting the State Division of Consumer Affairs website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200 to receive a paper complaint form by mail. * * *The mission of the Division of Consumer Affairs, within the Department of Law and Public Safety, is to protect the public from fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and professional misconduct in the sale of goods and services in New Jersey through education, advocacy, regulation and enforcement. The Division pursues its mission through its 51 professional and occupational boards that oversee 720,000 licensees in the state, its Regulated Business section that oversees 60,000 NJ registered businesses, as well as its Office of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Securities, Charities Registration section, Office of Weights and Measures, and Legalized Games of Chance section.

New Jersey Task Force 1 Deploys to Louisiana in Response to Hurricane Laura

See updated MidJersey.news story here: NJ Task Force 1 Returns Home From Hurricane Laura


80 Members of NJ-TFT1 left NJ early this morning deploying to Baton Rouge, Louisiana

August 27, 2020 Update August 29, 2020


NJ-TF1 Update🇺🇸

In response to Hurricane Laura, FEMA has adjusted the federal response to meet local needs.

NJ-TF1 has received demobilization orders and begun the process of heading home.

Thank you for your support!


New Jersey Task Force 1 (NJ-TF1) has been activated as members of the National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Response System and will be deploying to assist with the rescue and recovery efforts resulting from the effects of Hurricane Laura.

NJ-TF1 deployed as a Type 1 Team consisting of 80 team members, three tractor-trailers, two box trucks, five F-450 utility vehicles, two crew carriers, an F-250 towing vehicle, two passenger vans, two utility terrain vehicles, and a fleet service truck. A water rescue component of six boats with trailers and a water support trailer were also deployed.

NJ-TF1 is en route to the current staging area in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This will be the team’s seventh deployment as a FEMA US&R Team.


The team is en route to their current destination of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in response to Hurricane Laura.


Sunrise Update:



Toms River Man Sentenced To NJ State Prison For Lakewood Fatal Hit And Run

August 26, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on August 26, 2020, Alexander Politan, 31, of Toms River, was sentenced by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., to seven years in New Jersey State Prison. On February 25, 2020, Politan pled guilty to Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1, as well as Driving with a Suspended License in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, before Judge Ryan. Judge Ryan also imposed a six-month loss of driving privileges.

On Friday, October 4, 2019, at approximately 9:20 p.m., Lakewood Police were summoned to Oak Street, south of Albert Avenue in Lakewood Township for a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle. Investigation at the scene revealed that Jesus Lopez-Grande, 15, of Lakewood, and his father, Jesus Lopez-Ramirez, 37, also of Lakewood, were walking near the shoulder portion of Oak Street when they were struck by a vehicle. Jesus Lopez-Ramirez sustained an injury to his elbow. Jesus Lopez-Grande was found lying face down in the driveway of a home on Oak Street. Jesus Lopez-Grande suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Further investigation revealed vehicle debris was left at the scene. Detectives determined from the debris that vehicle parts located at the crash scene belonged to a black 2014 Jeep Cherokee. At that time, the Lakewood Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office launched an extensive search to locate that vehicle. On Sunday, October 6, 2019, a black Jeep Cherokee matching the description of the suspect vehicle was discovered in the driveway of a residence on New Hampshire Avenue in Toms River. The residence was unoccupied. The black Jeep Cherokee had damage to the passenger side. A search warrant was obtained for the Jeep Cherokee.

Further investigation revealed that Politan was operating the vehicle when it struck Jesus Lopez-Grande and Jesus Lopez-Grande. Politan was located and apprehended on October 8, 2019. He has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his arrest.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy and Assistant Prosecutor Kate Burke who handled the case on behalf of the State, and extends his gratitude to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department, Toms River Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their combined efforts in securing this state prison sentence.


Operation “Screen Capture” 21 Alleged Sex Offenders Busted

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

August 26, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Troopers Assist Two Kayakers Stranded in the Sedge Islands

August 24, 2020

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Yesterday, troopers working a detail with the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau Point Pleasant Station assisted two kayakers who were stranded in the Sedge Islands and unable to return to Island Beach State Park.

At approximately 10:10 p.m., Detective Sergeant Kenneth Lutz and Sergeant Christopher Carney were dispatched to the report of two kayakers who got lost attempting to return to Island Beach State Park. While fishing in the Barnaget Bay, the kayakers were unable to navigate back to the docks after it suddenly got dark during a storm that came through the area.

When troopers arrived in the area, they worked with dispatchers to quickly locate the kayakers on one of the islands. Due to the shallow waters, the troopers were unable to make it to the shoreline of island. However, they illuminated a path for the kayakers who were able to paddle a short distance out to the troopers’ vessel.

The troopers helped the kayakers, Ken Staunton and his son, Christopher, onto their vessel and transported them back to Island Beach State Park.

Great job by DSG Lutz and Sgt. Carney for their quick intervention.


WANTED: Cream Ridge-Plumsted Twp. Man For Recent Pursuit In Reported Stolen Vehicle

The male driver was identified as Nicholas Ryland, age 28 of Kuzyk Road, Cream Ridge, NJ. He was charged with eluding, receiving stolen property, speeding, reckless driving, improper passing and driving with a suspended driver’s license. Mr. Ryland is entered as a New Jersey wanted person at this time and anyone with information of his whereabouts is asked to contact the Jackson Police Department at 732-928-1111 or through the department’s Stop It app.

August 24, 2020

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–The Jackson Police Department is requesting the public’s assistance to locate a wanted person who was involved in a recent vehicle pursuit in a reported stolen vehicle.

On Friday August 21, 2020 at approximately 5:53 pm, Police Officer Jeff Henba was on patrol on Bowman Road when he observed a 2020 Jeep traveling at 75 miles per hour in the posted 50 mile per hour speed zone. Officer Henba was able to observe the driver of the vehicle as it passed him and turned around to conduct a motor vehicle stop.

After activating the patrol vehicle’s emergency lights, the driver of the Jeep refused to yield and continued driving on Bowman Road and turning right on Toms River Road to head north. A pursuit was initiated as the vehicle continued north on Toms River Road, reaching speeds of 95-100 miles per hour as it was driven recklessly and began passing other vehicles improperly. At this time, the officer’s supervisor terminated the pursuit.

Approximately 5 minutes after the pursuit was terminated, the agency received a call from a resident of the Woodmere Apartments located on West County Line Road reporting that the Jeep had been stolen. As the investigation progressed, officers discovered that a male subject had been stopped in the past while driving a vehicle registered to the caller reporting the Jeep stolen. When Officer Henba was able to observe the male’s photo, he positively identified him as the driver of the Jeep who had fled on him.

Officers then met with Plumsted officers and went to the last known address of the male who was identified as the driver of the Jeep as another officer met with the caller in Jackson who was reporting the vehicle stolen. Family members of the suspect advised that they did not know where the male suspect was as officers were able to locate the Jeep parked on the street a few houses down from the suspect’s residence. Plumsted Police utilized their K-9 officer and the dog tracked from the parked Jeep directly to the suspect’s front door. A search was then conducted to attempt to locate the suspect but he was not at the location. Before clearing from the location, the vehicle was impounded.

Officer Henba then continued the investigation and contacted the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office to get the following charges approved which were prepared on a warrant: eluding (2nd degree) and receiving stolen property (3rd degree).

The male driver was identified as Nicholas Ryland, age 28 of Kuzyk Road, Cream Ridge, NJ. He was charged with eluding, receiving stolen property, speeding, reckless driving, improper passing and driving with a suspended driver’s license.

Mr. Ryland is entered as a New Jersey wanted person at this time and anyone with information of his whereabouts is asked to contact the Jackson Police Department at 732-928-1111 or through the department’s Stop It app.

– The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

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

August 20, 2020


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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