Alleged gang members arrested in area towns

Prosecutor: Several violent street gangs active in county

Some 84 alleged gang members have been arrested in Middlesex County over the past six months as part of a lengthy investigation into gang activity by numerous law enforcement agencies.

Authorities identified nearly a dozen street gangs, including the commonly known Bloods and Crips, with members residing in several Middlesex County towns. The town with the most suspects was New Brunswick, but alleged gang members were residing locally in towns such as Sayreville, South River and East Brunswick.

Numerous suspects were also rounded up in North Brunswick, Perth Amboy and Highland Park, among other places.

The Middlesex County Violent Gang Task Force made, established by Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan, led the investigation, making 64 arrests since last May as officials gathered intelligence and pursued leads. The other 18 suspects were arrested earlier this month after the task force executed arrest and search warrants in New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Piscataway and Highland Park.

Kaplan said the investigation used various investigative strategies and tactics, including undercover operatives and physical surveillance.

The street gangs encountered during the investigation included Bloods, which had subsets known as Sex Money Murder (SMM), G-Shine, Neighborhood Rollin 20s (NHB), Bounty Hunter Bloods (BHB), 9Tek and IMG- 464. Other gangs found operating in the county were the Latin Kings, Netas, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Crips, Vatos Locos, 18th Street, La Mugre, Trinitarios, Dominicans Don’t Play and A-Set, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Authorities said some of the alleged gang members have a history of violence and have been involved individually and/or collectively in crimes including murder, attempted murder including drive-by shootings, aggravated assault, armed robbery, unlawful possession of weapons, and possession and distribution of controlled dangerous substances.

Local suspects identified as alleged gang members included Christopher Wilson, 24, of South River; Nathaniel Brown, 23, of South River; Morris Abrams, 46, of South River; Matthew Vaughn, 27, of Sayreville; Melvin Stone, 22, of Parlin; Antonio Pineda, 23, of South River; and William Zamor, 24, of Sayreville.

Those seven suspects, all reported to be members of the Bloods, were arrested early on in the investigation in May, on charges of possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), with many jailed in lieu of bail as high as $75,000 in Brown’s case. The only suspect from East Brunswick named in the prosecutor’s report was Robert Trotmen, 24. Alleged to be a lieutenant with the IMG-464 Bloods, Trotmen was arrested on May 20 and charged with distribution of CDS. The only other alleged member of the IMG- 464 Bloods was a resident of Elkton, Md.

More arrests may be coming. In addition to the 84 apprehended suspects, the prosecutor’s office has arrest warrants for 16 suspected gang members, most of whom reside in New Brunswick.

Kaplan said the anti-gang initiative is part of Gov. Jon Corzine’s Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods program, directed by Attorney General Anne Milgrim and state Director of Gangs, Guns and Violent Crime Control Jose Cordero.

“Middlesex County law enforcement is committed to working together with our communities to ensure the safest and highest quality of life for our citizens,” Kaplan said. “The violence, guns and drugs associated with gangs is unacceptable and will continue to be aggressively investigated and prosecuted.”

Milgram said the Middlesex County investigation “is a significant part of our statewide strategy to target and take down street gangs trafficking in illegal drugs and guns.”

“The significant number of gang members swept up by the county’s Violent Crimes Task Force is an important step forward in making our streets and neighborhoods safe from violent criminals,” Milgram said.

Among the law enforcement agencies participating in the Violent Gang Task Force are the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department, Middlesex County Department of Corrections, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, and police departments in Sayreville, South Amboy, Carteret, Highland Park, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, South Brunswick and Franklin Township, as well as New Jersey State Police, New Jersey State Parole, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).