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Prosecutor

Union County to host donation drive for people of Ukraine

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has uprooted families, injured citizens, and left thousands of Ukrainian refugees without access to basic necessities. To date, nearly 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, many leaving behind necessary supplies.

To support individuals in need, the Union County Board of County Commissioners and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office have partnered to organize a county-wide donation drive for the people of Ukraine.

Beginning today, a donation box will be available in the lobby of Union County law enforcement agencies, twenty-four locations in all. Members of the public are invited to bring donations of first aid supplies, toiletries, flashlights, blankets, batteries, clothing, shoes, diapers, formula, and more. The program will run for the foreseeable future, as long as continued aid is needed. This donation drive is made possible through a partnership with law enforcement and local Polish and Ukrainian organizations.

“In support of the international effort to aid Ukraine, we encourage Union County residents to help ensure that life-sustaining emergency supplies reach those in desperate need of assistance,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams

 “I am immensely grateful to the police Chiefs and Directors of Union County for opening their agencies to this initiative,” said Union County Prosecutor William Daniel. “Police departments are at the heart of every community, positioning them as the perfect location for members of the public to come together in support of the Ukrainian people.”

 “As a Polish immigrant, and an active member of the Polish and Ukrainian communities in Union County, I was eager to find a way for the County’s law enforcement community to provide humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian refugees.” said Prosecutor’s Office Detective Dariusz Tokarz, who coordinated the collection event.

Drop-off boxes will be available in the lobbies of police departments in Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Fanwood, Garwood, Hillside, Kenilworth, Linden, Mountainside, New Providence, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle, Roselle Park, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, Union, Westfield, Winfield. Additional drop off locations will be available in the lobbies of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the Union County Police Department, the Kean University Police Department, and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. 

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Prosecutor

Man arrested in connection with Plainfield homicide

A Plainfield man has been arrested and charged in connection with a fatal shooting that took place in Plainfield on Friday afternoon, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Plainfield Police Director James T. Abney announced Sunday.

Haneef Welch, 32, has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and second-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose in connection with the death of Eric C. Williams, 50, of Plainfield.

Shortly before 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 11, 2022, members of the Plainfield Police Department responded to the intersection of Johnston Ave and Front Street in Plainfield, and found Williams at that location, having sustained injury. He was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Cleaver, who is prosecuting the case.

An investigation led by the Union County Homicide Task Force, and assisted by the Plainfield Police Department, the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and the Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit resulted in the identification of Welch as a suspect. Welch was taken into custody without incident Friday evening and is currently lodged in the Union County Jail pending a first appearance.

Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Sergeant Christopher Scuorzo at 908-472-0492, Detective Ryan Kirsh at 908-347-1420, or Plainfield Police Detective Ilyas Muhammadat 908-753-3531.

Convictions on crimes of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Elizabeth man arrested for sexually assaulting children over a several-year period

An Elizabeth man has been charged after having sexually assaulted three minors over the course of several years, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced Friday.

Ivan Calderon, 60, of Elizabeth, has been charged with one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, three counts of second-degree sexual assault, two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, one count of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

In early January, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit received a report of a sexual assault of a juvenile female.  That investigation revealed that the alleged episodes occurred from 2005 through 2015, according to Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Dillon, who is prosecuting the case.  As the investigation progressed Special Victims Unit Detectives learned of the identity of two additional victims, both juveniles at the time, who defendant repeatedly sexually assaulted between the years of 2003 and 2009.  All three victims were less than 13 years-old during the duration of these crimes, Dillon said.

Calderon was arrested in late January and lodged in the Union County Jail after being charged with sexually assaulting the first victim.  As a result of the Special Victims Unit continuing investigation, he was subsequently charged with the sexual assaults of the additional two females during the first week of March.  Calderon will remain detained prior to his trial or the final disposition of his cases.

This investigation remains ongoing.  Anyone with further information about Calderon is urged to contact Special Victims Unit Detective Kenneth Mirabelli at (908) 477-3074.

Convictions on these types of first-degree aggravated sexual assault charges can be punishable by a term between twenty-five years and life in state prison.  Second-degree charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.  Third-degree convictions range from 3 to 5 years, and fourth-degree charges can carry up to a term of 18 months.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

On Sixth Anniversary of Rahway Killing, Investigators Seek Public’s Help

In marking the sixth anniversary of an incident in which a young Rahway entrepreneur was fatally shot in the downtown sneaker store he owned and operated, investigators are again asking members of the public to come forward with information as part of their continuing efforts to solve the crime, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Rahway Police Chief Director Jonathan Parham and Chief Law Enforcement Officer Captain David DeSordi jointly announced Friday.

The known facts of the case are as follows: 

At approximately 9:15 p.m. on Friday, February 26, 2016, members of the Rahway Police Department responded to the East Coast Boutique on the 1500 block of Irving Street and found 21-year-old Jamal “Mally” Gaines at that location, having sustained a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

A joint investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, the Rahway Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office’s Crime Scene Unit revealed that minutes before police first arrived at the scene, two people, with their faces partially covered, accessed the store through a rear utility door, resulting in a physical struggle that ended when the fatal shot was fired. At that point, the two suspects ran out of the building the same way they came in, after which they were seen on surveillance footage sprinting down a rear alley, with one of the two showing a pronounced limp.

The Prosecutor’s Office today is re-releasing a video clip pulled from that footage.

The suspect with the limp appeared to be wearing dark pants, light-colored sneakers, and a dark hooded sweatshirt with a light-colored patch on the left arm. The other suspect appeared to be wearing a lighter-colored hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and brown or beige shoes. Both brandished handguns.

“Mr. Gaines was a young, driven man, who followed his dream by owning and operating a business he felt deeply passionate about,” Prosecutor Daniel said. “Sadly, in living that dream he senselessly lost his life and we remain as firmly committed today as we did six years ago in finding these cold-blooded killers and to bringing justice for him and his loved ones.”

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Ryan Kirsh at 908-347-1420. The Union County Crime Stoppers also are continuing to offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case; tips can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org.

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Prosecutor

Three men arrested for attempted murder in Plainfield shooting

An investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office’s and the Plainfield Police Department has led to arrest of three men after being criminally charged with attempting to shoot and kill a local man last April, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Plainfield Police Director James T. Abney announced Friday. 

Raheim Morgan, 19 of Dunellen, Ja’Son Spann, 19 of Plainfield and Demetrius Stephens 19 of Piscataway, were all charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and third-degree receiving stolen property.

On April 26th, at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon, Plainfield Police units responded to the area of Liberty and West 4th Streets after multiple calls of shots fired.  Once on scene, officers located numerous shell spent casings and discovered that several homes and vehicles had been struck by gunfire.  Detectives soon determined that three gunman, driving in a stolen vehicle, fired a total of thirty-five rounds at their intended victim, a Plainfield man, who was able to take cover during the attack and was unharmed.  An exhaustive investigation that followed led to the identification of and arrests of Morgan, Spann and Stevens, all of whom remain in the Essex County Jail pending their next Court appearances.

“I am grateful to all of the Plainfield Detectives who worked on this case for their dedication throughout this investigation,” said Prosecutor Daniel. “Together with our partner law enforcement agencies, our untiring effort to curb violence on our streets and positively impact the communities we serve continues.”

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about this matter or these suspects is urged to contact Plainfield Police Detective Ilyas Muhammad at (908) 753 -3531.

Convictions on first-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 10 to 20 years, second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years, and third-degree crimes can result in 3 to 5 years.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Man arrested for a violent December robbery spree in Plainfield

A joint investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the Plainfield Police Department has led to the arrest of a Dunellen man, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Plainfield Police Director James T. Abney announced Wednesday.  

Raheim Morgan, 19, has been charged with four counts of second-degree robbery, four counts of second-degree conspiracy and one count of third-degree receiving stolen property in connection with four violent robberies committed in Plainfield early one morning this past December, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Nicole Siano, who is prosecuting the case. Morgan is also charged with two counts of third-degree burglary, two counts of third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary, one count of third-degree attempted burglary and one count of fourth-degree theft for break-ins in Cranford and Westfield on the same day, Siano added.

On December 17, 2021, four separate Hispanic maleseach reported being robbed by multiple suspects with the City.  The first victim reported that at approximately 6:30 a.m. he was walking in the area of East Front and Church Streets when two males jumped from a car, punched him in the face and took his wallet which containedapproximately $300 in cash.  About fifteen minutes later another victim was riding his bicycle in the area of Cleveland Avenue and East 6th Street when two black males approached, knocked him off his bike, punched him several times and took his wallet which held approximately $500.  Then, approximately ten minutes after the second attack, a man was walking on the 600 block of Arlington Place when he was approached by group of males who exited a vehicle and began to assault him before forcefully removing $500 in cash from his person.  Lastly, just before 7:00 a.m., a lone male was on the 1300 block of Front Street when he was approached and attacked by two males who assaulted him and made off with his wallet containing approximately $2500. On that same day, several males committed a residential burglary in Westfield and a motor vehicle burglary in Cranford that were determined to have been carried out by the same group responsible for the Plainfield robberies.

The intensive investigation that followed, spearheaded by Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Driven Prosecution Unit and Plainfield Police Department, and assisted by a number of other agencies, led to the identification of Morgan as one of the suspects in the robberies and burglaries.  He was subsequently charged and in early February was tracked down to the Menlo Park Mall where he was taken into custody by members of the Edison Police Department, Siano stated.  He is currently being housed in the Essex County Jail awaiting his next Court appearance.

“I am grateful to the members of the Prosecutor’s Office and Plainfield Police Department for their tireless dedication throughout this investigation,” said Prosecutor Daniel. “Together with the partnership of local and State law enforcement agencies, our efforts to reduce predatory violence and improve the quality of life for the residents of the communities we serve continue.”

This joint investigation included collaboration and support from the New Jersey State Police, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the police departments of Cranford, Westfield, Dunellen, Edison, Highland Park, Hillsborough, New Brunswick, North Plainfield, South Brunswick and South Plainfield.

This investigation is active and ongoing and anyone with information about these matters or these suspects is urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Alex Lanza at (908) 370-4318 or Plainfield Detective Dave Brander at (908) 775 -3131 ext. 2351

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years, third-degree crimes can result in 3 to 5 years, and fourth-degree convictions up to 18 months.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Kean University Hold Law Enforcement Recruitment Event

More than two dozen federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies will participate in a joint recruitment event on Monday, February 28 at Kean University’s main campus in Union, New Jersey.

The event is jointly hosted by Kean University and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, with the support of the Union County Board of County Commissioners, New Jersey Senate President Nicholas Scutari, State Sen. Joseph Cryan, State Sen. Jon Bramnick, Elizabeth Branch NAACP President Shawn McClain, Rahway Branch NAACP Vice President Reverend Gary Hall, and New Jersey NOBLE President Jiles Ship.

“As we look toward the future, recruiting and cultivating the next generation of law enforcement professionals is one of the most important investments we can make in our community,” said Union County Prosecutor William Daniel. “Whether you are considering a career in law enforcement at the federal, state, county or municipal level, we encourage you to stop by the recruitment fair to learn more about this meaningful line of work.”

“At Kean, we take great pride in our robust criminal justice program that prepares students to succeed in many roles across the justice system,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “We are excited to host this joint event to support our students and others in our community in finding valuable and fulfilling careers in law enforcement.”

The recruitment fair is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Liberty Hall Academic Center, 1003 Morris Ave in Union. Interested applicants are invited to bring their resumes to meet with representatives from various agencies. 

The event is free, but there is a $35 fee for anyone interested in registering for the New Jersey Civil Service Exam on site.

Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams encourages residents to attend the recruitment event.

“We recently had a joint law enforcement job fair, which was very successful, so I hope that individuals will come out to this one as well,” Williams said. “There are over 20 agencies involved, so there are many opportunities for our constituents who are looking for a career in this rewarding field to find their match; I hope you will join us and see what there is to offer.”

“This event is the perfect opportunity for any resident in Union County who is interested in a career in law enforcement to meet and interact with each department’s recruitment team,” said Scutari. “Our Legislature is committed to developing future leaders, and it is through events like this that we can provide the necessary tools our constituents need to develop a bright future and make a positive impact in their community.

“I am very proud of the outstanding work of law enforcement in our county,” said Bramnick. “I am very pleased to endorse and support the job recruitment fair.”

“Union County is home to some of the finest law enforcement professionals, who serve our communities with honor, respect and dignity,” said Cryan. “Those interested in joining their ranks or just learning more are highly encouraged to attend this event.”

Agencies slated to attend include: the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Newark), Homeland Security Investigations (Newark), New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Prosecutor’s Offices of Bergen, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Morris, and Union counties, and the Police Departments of Berkeley Heights, Clark, Hillside, Irvington, Kean University, Linden, Mountainside, Newark, Orange, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle, Scotch Plains, Stevens Institute of Technology, Union County, Union County Sheriff, Union Township and Westfield.

Everyone in attendance is expected to follow COVID-19 safety protocols. Masks are required, regardless of vaccination status, in all university buildings. Professional attire is recommended.

Parking will be available in the STEM Building lot, adjacent to the Liberty Hall Academic Center. 

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Prosecutor

Newark man captured and arrested for summertime Elizabeth slaying

A Newark resident has been arrested this morning, after having been criminally charged with shooting an Elizabeth man several times and killing him in the City this past August, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Elizabeth Police Director Earl Graves and Elizabeth Police Chief Giacomo Sacca jointly announced Tuesday.

Jefferson Louis, 25, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes in connection with the shooting death of Archeley Brizard, 26, of Elizabeth. 

Shortly before 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, members of the Elizabeth Police Department responded to the area of Jefferson Park and found Brizard in a car at that location, having sustained multiple gunshot wounds. He was subsequently pronounced dead, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Julie Peterman, who is prosecuting the case.

An investigation led by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Elizabeth Police Department, with the assistance of the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and the Union County Police Department Firearms ID Unit, resulted in the identification of Louis as the murder suspect and he was subsequently charged in October of last year.  After a months-long manhunt, members of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force were eventually able to locate Louis at an apartment in Newark and arrested him early this morning.  He is currently being housed in the County Jail pending a first appearance.

“As in every case, we are grateful for the collaboration with our partner law enforcement agencies who assisted our Office in locating and apprehending the suspect,” Prosecutor Daniel said. “And we hope that this arrest can bring some small measure of comfort to all those grieving Mr. Brizard.”

Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Detective Charles Clement at 908-577-6489 or Elizabeth Police Detective Paul Tillotson at 908-447-6711.

Convictions on crimes of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Man arrested in connection with fatal stabbing in Plainfield

A Plainfield man has been arrested and charged in connection with a fatal stabbing that took place in the city Friday morning, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Plainfield Police Director James T. Abney jointly announced Monday.

Marcelo IxcunaCastro, 52, is charged with second-degree manslaughter and related third- and fourth-degree weapons offenses.

Shortly before 1:30 am on Friday, January 28, members of the Plainfield Police Department responded to the 500 block of W Front Street and found the victim, Jose Maria Ixcuna-Chach, 37, of Plainfield, at that location having sustained fatal injury, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Grady, who is prosecuting the case. Ixcuna-Chach was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene.

IxcunaCastro was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries before being released into custody without incident. He is currently being held in the Essex County Jail pending a first appearance.

The investigation has been led by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Plainfield Police Department, with assistance from theUnion County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit and the Department of Homeland Security.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Sergeant Christopher Scuorzo at 908-472-0492, Detective Michael Tambini at 908-472-401, or Plainfield Police Detective D. Alston at 908-753-3360.

Convictions on second-degree charges are commonly punishable by terms of 5 to 10 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Elizabeth teacher arrested for sexual misconduct

An Elizabeth high school teacher has been charged after having committed acts of sexual misconduct with a minor student over the course of several months, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Elizabeth Police Director Earl Graves and Police Chief Giacomo Sacca jointly announced Monday.

Bipradas Mookerjee, 72, of North Brunswick, has been charged with third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

In mid-January, the Elizabeth Police Department received a report of a sexual assault upon a 14 year-old female, which was referred to the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit.  That investigation revealed that the alleged incidents occurred from October of 2021 into January of this year, while Mookerjee worked as a math teacher at Frank J. Cicarell Academy in Elizabeth, according to Unit Supervisor and Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who is prosecuting the case.  The 14 year old victim was a student at the school during the period of the alleged criminal acts, Lawlor said.

Mookerjee was arrested without incident last Tuesday and lodged in the Union County Jail.  He was subsequently released after a pretrial detention hearing in Union County Superior Court, and is currently on supervised release awaiting his next court appearance.

Anyone with further information about Mookerjee is being urged to contact Elizabeth Police Officer Johanna Rivera of the Special Victims Unit at 908348-0999.

Convictions on third-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 3 to 5 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.