North Plainfield man indicted in connection with gang-related homicide

A Union County grand jury has returned a four-count indictment against a Somerset County man charged in connection with a gang-related fatal shooting that took place in Plainfield in 2011, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Thursday.

Jose Romero-Aguirre, a.k.a. “Coñejo,” 31, a North Plainfield resident and member of the Plainfield Locos Salvatrucha (PLS) clique of the MS-13 gang set, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, and two related weapons offenses for allegedly killing 22-year-old Andres Chach of Plainfield.

On January 9, 2011, Plainfield Police Division patrol units rushed to the 300 block of West Front Street in Plainfield to find Chach suffering from gunshot wounds outside of a restaurant at that location. Chach was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

An investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force and Plainfield Police Division, assisted by members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), resulted in Romero-Aguirre being identified as a suspect in the case, as it was revealed that he shot Chach as part as an initiation into his gang.

Romero-Aguirre was formally charged and taken into custody in January 2017. State Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield set bail at $1.5 million.   

Murder charges are commonly punishable by terms of 30 years to life in state prison.

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