TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on April 1, 2021, Jeydon Lowe, 25, of Barnegat, was sentenced by the Honorable Linda G. Baxter, J.S.C., to a term of seven years New Jersey State Prison as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5. This sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, meaning Lowe will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility. Additionally, Judge Baxter suspended Lowe’s driving privileges for a period of five years in connection with his previously entered guilty plea to Driving While Intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Lowe pled guilty to both charges before Judge Baxter on January 27, 2021.
On March 25, 2020, at approximately 5:30 p.m., officers from the Stafford Township Police Department responded to a single vehicle crash on Stafford Avenue near Hilliard Boulevard. An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Stafford Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that a 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt operated by Lowe was traveling eastbound on Stafford Avenue at an extremely high rate of speed. Lowe lost control of the vehicle as he was attempting to navigate a right-hand turn, and consequently crashed into a tree. A passenger in the front seat of the vehicle, Robert Parlin, 24, of Little Egg Harbor, succumbed to his injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Lowe sustained minor injuries and was taken to Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean County Medical Center in Stafford Township. A search warrant was obtained for a draw of his blood. On April 14, 2020, Detectives received the laboratory results from the blood draw which indicated that Lowe had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of nearly .12 percent. An operator of a motor vehicle is presumed to be over the legal limit for purposes of alcohol consumption where his/her BAC is .08 or greater.
“This is an absolutely tragic case, which should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who is tempted to drink and drive,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “Let me be clear: drunk driving kills, and it has the potential to tear families apart. Sadly, these types of cases are wholly preventable, particularly in this day and age of Uber, Lyft, and other readily available transportation services. While this young defendant will go to prison for a long time for his senseless conduct on the night in question, nothing will bring Mr. Parlin back to his family” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Stafford Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their combined efforts in connection with this investigation which resulted in Lowe’s guilty plea, and ultimately his state prison sentence.
BARNEGAT TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Barnegat Township Police Chief Keith A. Germain announced that on February 12, 2021, Juan C. Piedrahita, 49, of Hollywood, Florida, was charged with Theft by Deception in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4.
The charges are the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and Barnegat Township Police Department Detective Bureau in January 2021. The investigation revealed that Piedrahita, posing as an attorney, telephonically contacted an elderly victim advising him that his nephew had been in a motor vehicle accident. Piedrahita convinced the victim that his nephew was under arrest and that $10,000 cash bail was needed to secure his release. The victim obtained the cash and met Piedrahita – now posing as a courier – at a CVS parking lot in Barnegat. After leaving the parking lot, the elderly victim was contacted once again and instructed to provide an additional $10,000 as payment to the alleged victim of the purported motor vehicle accident. It was only when the victim was questioned by bank staff that he contacted his nephew and confirmed that his nephew was not in actual trouble. Detectives were able to obtain surveillance footage of the area surrounding the CVS parking lot, which captured the rental vehicle Piedrahita had rented at Newark International Airport, and were thereafter able to confirm Piedrahita’s identity based on that footage.
Juan C. Piedrahita’s location is presently unknown, and a Warrant for his arrest has been issued. Anyone in possession of information concerning Piedrahita’s whereabouts is urged to contact Detective James Purcell of the Barnegat Township Police Department at 609-698-5000, extension 262.
“Sadly, these types of scams targeting senior citizens are all too prevalent in Ocean County,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “I urge our residents to speak with their elderly family members about potential scams that target seniors, so as to prevent them from falling victim to predators seeking to cheat and extort them,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Germain commend the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and Barnegat Township Police Department Detective Bureau for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation.
The press and the public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Also sized were a total of 54 guns, (including assault rifles, a submachine gun, and a ghost gun) and high-capacity magazines.
December 11, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan announced today that the New Jersey State Police have arrested Andre Sulimenko, 56, of Barnegat, N.J., and United States Postal Service employees William Woolley, 52, of Jackson, N.J., and Nicholas Gooskos, 41, of Spring Lake, N.J. for various drug and weapon offenses and seized 2 kilograms of fentanyl, heroin, 54 guns, and high-capacity magazines.
On Wednesday, December 2, detectives from the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Central Unit, Neptune City Police Department, Middletown Township Police Department, and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, working together as a part of the New Jersey State Police Opioid Enforcement Task Force (OETF), received information about the possible distribution of fentanyl by two employees of the United States Postal Service in Jackson Township, Ocean County.
While conducting their investigation in Jackson Township, detectives observed Andre Sulimenko pull his Subaru into the driveway of William Woolley’s residence for an alleged narcotics transaction. Detectives observed Woolley exit his residence, approach the car, and hand a bag to Sulimenko. Shortly after the exchange, detectives stopped Sulimenko who was found to be in possession of one kilogram of fentanyl, which was located in the bag that he had just received from Woolley. Sulimenko was arrested at the scene without incident.
Later that day, detectives from the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Central Unit and the Opioid Enforcement Task Force along with the State Police T.E.A.M.S. Unit, K-9 Unit, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office executed a search warrant on Woolley’s residence. William Woolley was found to be in possession of 18 handguns, 28 rifles and shotguns, high-capacity magazines, and various firearm parts. Among the weapons seized were an assault rifle, a submachine gun, and a ghost gun. A ghost gun is a firearm that is assembled from various parts that are not imprinted with a serial number registered with a federally licensed manufacturer, making them difficult for law enforcement to trace.
As a result of the continuing investigation, detectives identified Nicholas Gooskos as another suspect in the fentanyl distribution network. On Thursday, December 3, with the assistance of the United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General, detectives arrested Gooskos while on his mail delivery route in Neptune Township, N.J. As a result of the arrest, detectives later seized 120 individual doses of heroin. Detectives later searched Gooskos’ residence in Spring Lake, N.J. and seized one kilogram of fentanyl, five rifles, one assault rifle, two shotguns, high-capacity magazines, and ammunition.
The New Jersey State Police Hazmat Unit safely processed the fentanyl seized in this investigation. Fentanyl is an extremely lethal synthetic opioid, and as little as two milligrams are enough to cause a fatal overdose. The street value for a kilogram of fentanyl is $50,000, but when mixed with other agents and broken down into individual doses, the fentanyl seized in this investigation had an estimated street value of $3,000,000.
William Woolley was charged with distribution of fentanyl, conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, possession of a firearm during a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) offense, possession of a ghost gun, possession of an assault rifle, possession of a machine gun, manufacturing an assault firearm, and possession of high-capacity magazines.
Nicholas Gooskos was charged with possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl, possession with the intent to distribute heroin, conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, possession of a firearm during a CDS offense, possession of an assault rifle, and possession of high-capacity magazines. Andre Sulimenko was charged with possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.
William Woolley and Andre Sulimenko were lodged in the Ocean County Jail and Nicholas Gooskos was lodged in the Monmouth County Jail. All were lodged pending a detention hearing.
“Undaunted by the COVID pandemic, the New Jersey State Police are working ceaselessly to protect the public, in this case by seizing large quantities of the super-potent opioid fentanyl and outlawed weapons, including two assault rifles, a machine gun, and an untraceable ghost gun,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “By arresting these men and removing these highly lethal drugs and guns from our communities, we have made residents safer and more secure. The State Police and Division of Criminal Justice will continue to collaborate with law enforcement at all levels to target these dangerous criminal elements.”
“Fentanyl is one of the deadliest opioids in existence, just a few milligrams can kill an adult. This narcotic is not only lethal to users, sellers, law enforcement, and forensic scientists tasked with handling it, trace amounts left on surfaces by traffickers could easily claim the lives innocent victims, including unsuspecting children,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “While New Jersey remains on the forefront of the battle against the opioid epidemic, with the State Police Opioid Enforcement Task Force leading the charge with innovative enforcement strategies, we will continue to work with our partners and communities to develop education and awareness campaigns to combat this plague on all fronts.”
“The members of DCJ’s Gangs and Organized Crime Bureau stand ready at all times to work with the New Jersey State Police and our other law enforcement partners in these investigations targeting illegal drugs and weapons,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Those who bring deadly narcotics like fentanyl and banned firearms into our communities will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
To date, the OETF has conducted 131 enforcement operations and seized more than 800,956 individual doses of packaged opioids valued at $4,004,780, more than 75 kilograms of raw heroin valued at $4,500,000, more than 25 kilograms of fentanyl valued at $1,250,000, more than 50,000 fentanyl based pills valued at $500,000, more than 33 kilograms of cocaine valued at $2,088,000, more than $2,462,137 in U.S. currency, and 143 firearms. The OETF has also disrupted or dismantled 33 fully operational opioid packaging facilities, a fully operational fentanyl pill pressing operation, and arrested 301 suspects during this time.
The Barnegat Police Department also assisted in this investigation, and the State Police Ballistics Unit identified and processed the firearms seized by detectives. The case is being prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice.
Charges are mere accusations, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.