Two Multi-Kilo Drug Traffickers Enter Guilty Pleas in Connection with September 2018 Seizure of 20 Kilograms of Heroin and Fentanyl

October 31, 2019

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Chief of Investigations Chris Kimker, and Netcong Borough Chief of Police James Blesson announce the guilty pleas of two males in connection to the trafficking and seizure of approximately ten (10) kilograms of heroin, ten (10) kilograms of fentanyl, and $103,886 in U.S. currency, that occurred on the evening of September 18, 2018, in Netcong, New Jersey.

On October 30, 2019, Vantwuan D. Williams, age 45, with a last known address in Victorville, California, entered a guilty plea to first degree possession with intent to distribute five ounces or more of heroin.  The Honorable Stephen J. Taylor, P.J.Cr. presided over the guilty plea.  The State will recommend that Williams be sentenced to twelve (12) years New Jersey State Prison with a forty-nine (49) month parole disqualifier.

On October 30, 2019, Earl Haggens, age 53, with a last known address in Los Angeles, California, entered guilty pleas to first degree possession with intent to distribute five ounces or more of heroin and second degree financial facilitation of criminal activity.  The Honorable Stephen J. Taylor, P.J.Cr. presided over the guilty pleas.  The State will recommend that Haggens be sentenced to fifteen (15) years New Jersey State Prison with a sixty (60) month parole disqualifier.

In pleading guilty, the defendants admitted to trafficking a large amount of heroin with the intent to distribute the same.  Additionally, Haggens admitted that the US currency seized from within the tractor-trailer both men possessed on September 18, 2018, was derived from criminal activity; specifically, the trafficking of narcotics.

Both defendants continue to be lodged at the Morris County Correctional Facility.  Sentencing has been scheduled for November 22, 2019 before the Honorable Stephen J. Taylor, P.J.Cr.  The State is represented by Assistant Prosecutor Noelle Fiorentino in this matter.

Prosecutor Knapp stated: “Fortunately the proactive efforts by Netcong Borough patrol officers halted the distribution of what could have been hundreds of thousands of individual heroin/fentanyl doses.  Our community was made safer by this significant narcotics seizure.  I want to thank the Morris County Narcotics Taskforce for their significant efforts in investigating these drug traffickers and bringing this case to a successful conclusion.”

Prosecutor Knapp would also like to thank the efforts of the Netcong Police officers who commenced this investigation and the entire Netcong Borough Police Department, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Special Enforcement Unit, and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Canine Unit, which assisted at the scene.

Inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to Public Information Officer Meghan Knab at [email protected] or 973-829-8159.

 

Woman Arrested in Connection with Arson Investigation

October 30, 2019

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Acting Chief of Investigations Christoph Kimker, and Hanover Township Police Chief Mark Roddy announce the arrest of Nina Sheller, 51, of Hanover, NJ, on charges related to a fire that occurred on October 11, 2019 in Hanover, NJ.

It is alleged that on October 11, 2019, fire officials and law enforcement responded to a report of a residential structure fire on Harvest Court in Hanover.  Upon arrival, they encountered a fire in the garage area of the residence.  Present at the scene were Nina Sheller and her husband.  On-scene investigation revealed that the fire had originated in the passenger compartment of a vehicle that was parked inside the garage.  In addition to the vehicle and Sheller’s residence, several other attached units in the same building sustained various levels of damage from the fire.  Sheller made statements at the scene taking responsibility for the fire.  Sheller’s husband sustained non-life threatening injuries during the incident.

Sheller has been charged with two (2) counts of Arson, a crime of the third degree in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1(b), and one count of Criminal Mischief, a crime of the third degree in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3(a).  The defendant was charged by way of a warrant-complaint, and was released on pretrial monitoring conditions in accordance with the Criminal Justice Reform Act.

The investigation was conducted by the Hanover Township Police Department, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Arson and Environmental Crimes Unit.

The charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office – Arson and Environmental Crimes Unit at 973-285-6200 or the Hanover Township Police Department at 973-428-2512.

Inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to Public Information Officer Meghan Knab at [email protected] or 973-829-8159.

Second Operation Take Back of 2019 Yields Significant Results

October 29, 2019

On October 26, 2019, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office participated in Operation Take Back in partnership with three local police departments. Operation Take Back is held annually twice a year, with the first implementation occurring in April. Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, First Assistant Prosecutor Thomas A. Zelante, Acting Chief of Investigations Chris Kimker, Hanover Township Chief of Police Mark Roddy, Morris Township Chief of Police Mark DiCarlo, Morris Plains Chief of Police Jason Kohn, Randolph Township Chief of Police David Stokoe, and, all aided in the coordination of this event.

Residents of Morris County were able to bring unused or expired prescription drugs to three designated locations from 10:00am through 2:00pm. The three locations were the Shoprite of Greater Morristown in Hanover Township, the ACME Supermarket in Randolph, and the Stop and Shop Supermarket in Morris Plains. All drugs collected at the sites were weighed and properly destroyed by law enforcement officials.

The total weight in drugs collected from each location are as follows:

  • Shoprite of Greater Morristown: 85 pounds
  • Stop and Shop of Morris Plains: 125 pounds
  • ACME of Randolph: 106 pounds

Total: 316 pounds

Last April, the Operation Take Back event yielded a total of 659 pounds: 226 pounds at the Shoprite of Greater Morristown, 157 pounds at the Stop and Shop of Morris Plains and 276 pounds at the ACME of Randolph.

Morris County Prosecutor Knapp said, “Operation Take Back in Morris County has consistently yielded impressive results.  Once again, our community has embraced this important initiative in our continued fight against drug misuse and abuse.  We would like to thank our law enforcement partners and all three commercial locations for working with our office to ensure a very productive day”.

The community is reminded that if you were unable to drop off your medication during Operation Take Back, there are permanent drop box locations nearest you, which are listed at http://safehealthymorris.org/dropbox

Inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to Public Information Officer Meghan Knab at [email protected] or 973-829-8159.

Second Operation Take Back of 2019 Yields Significant Results

From left to right: Randolph Police Department Det. Kevin Clark, Randolph Police Department Sgt. Jeff Goral, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Det. Martina Ruminska, and MCPO Det./Supv. Carolina Moreno.

Second Operation Take Back of 2019 Yields Significant Results

From left to right: Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Acting Chief Chris Kimker, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Det. Mark Groninger, Hanover Police Department Officer David Littman, First Assistant Prosecutor Tom Zelante, MCPO Det./Supv. Leah Atterbury, Morris Township Police Officer Robert Hydock, and MCPO Capt. Stephen Ortiz.

Second Operation Take Back of 2019 Yields Significant Results

From left to right: Morris Plains Police Department Lt. Michael Rolph, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Det. Mary Falzarano, Acting Chief Chris Kimker, First Assistant Prosecutor Tom Zelante, MCPO Det./Supv. Patrick LaGuerre, and Morris Plains Police Officer Anne Marie Ferris.

 

Second Operation Take Back of 2019 Yields Significant Results

Medications collected on Oct. 26, 2019 by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office in Morris County locations.