Law enforcement investigating fatal fire in Butler, New Jersey.

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and Borough of Butler Police Chief Ciro Chimento announce an active investigation into a fatal fire that occurred on the night of December 12, 2017 in the Borough of Butler, New Jersey.

At approximately 10:50 p.m. on December 12, 2017, the Butler Police Department was notified of an active fire at a residence located at 4 Bartholdi Avenue in Butler. Fire suppression efforts were immediately undertaken. It was determined that multiple occupants of the home sustained injuries as a result of the fire.

One of the occupants, a 61-year-old female, died as a result of the fire. The decedent’s parents, ages 87 and 83, were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Multiple law enforcement and emergency agencies responded to this scene, including the Butler Police Department, the Butler Fire Department, Butler EMS, Bloomingdale Fire Department, Kinnelon Fire Department, Pompton Lakes Fire Department, Pompton Lakes EMS, as well as the Morris County Sherriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Section and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Arson/Environmental Unit and Major Crimes Unit.

Currently, the investigation continues regarding the origin and cause of the fire and no additional information will be released at this time.

Inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to Paul Merkler of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office at [email protected] or 973-285-6215.

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp Presents Local Law Enforcement with Narcan to Combat Heroin and Opioid Overdoses

As opioid-related overdoses continue to rise in Morris County, the supply of Narcan, a lifesaving drug created to reverse overdoses, has been depleted among law enforcement agencies operating in Morris County. To address this depletion and its impact on police department budgets, Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp has authorized the expenditure of $7,864 in drug forfeiture money to replenish the supply and aid municipal police department’s budgets. In total the Prosecutor’s Office purchased 165 dosages of Narcan, which will be distributed to Morris County law enforcement agencies at the December 12th meeting of the Morris County Police Chiefs Association. Each dose costs $44.54.

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp Presents Local Law Enforcement with Narcan to Combat Heroin and Opioid Overdoses

As of early December, there have been 170 administrations of Narcan by law enforcement in the county, already more than entire amount in 2016. A majority of police departments in the Morris County have had to deploy Narcan at least once this year.

Mount Olive Township Police Chief Stephen Beecher knows the extent of the problem very well. “Our community has been deeply affected by the heroin and opiate epidemic,” Chief Beecher said. “In 2017, Mount Olive police officers have so far saved 19 victims from opioid overdoses by deploying nasal Narcan, which has proven to be an invaluable resource in stemming the number of deaths, and offering families and those with opioid addictions another chance for recovery. We are grateful that Prosecutor Knapp will supplement Narcan resources through use of the narcotic forfeiture funds.”

The distribution is designed to restock every agency with the dosages they used this year in addition to providing dosages to departments that haven’t needed to deploy Narcan yet.

Prosecutor Knapp stated: “The Narcan program in Morris County is a critical component to our multidisciplinary approach in combating the opiate epidemic. This funding is made possible through the utilization of drug forfeiture funds seized from for-profit illegal drug dealers who adversely effected Morris County. The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to save lives and direct those addicted to treatment resources immediately after overdoses are reversed”.

The need for Narcan is another sobering sign of the heroin and opioid epidemic gripping Morris County. Overdose deaths in the county during 2017 are considerably ahead of last year’s pace. Unfortunately, there have been 76 fatal opiate overdoses this year within Morris County.

Inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to First Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Zelante at 973-285-6200.

Morris County Narcotics Task Force and Randolph Township Police Department make First Degree Drug Production Facility Arrests

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Investigations John R. Speirs, and Randolph Township Police Chief David Stokoe announce the arrest of eight individuals for first-degree maintaining a marijuana production facility and first-degree possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.

During November 2017, members of the Randolph Township Police Department’s Detective Bureau obtained information about a potential marijuana grow facility located in an office complex on Route 10 in Randolph Township. After an initial investigation by Randolph Police detectives, a joint investigation was initiated between the Randolph Township Police Department and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Special Enforcement Unit/Narcotics Task Force. This investigation culminated on November 22, 2017, when investigators seized approximately two hundred and sixty-six (266) marijuana plants, as well as marijuana ready for packaging and distribution. The estimated street value of the illegal drugs seized is in excess of $1,000,000. Moreover, approximately four thousand dollars and several vehicles were seized as a result of the investigation. Detective Matt Pfeiffer of the Randolph Township Police Department was the primary detective in charge of the investigation.

The following individuals were arrested as a result of this investigation:

• Juan T. Addison, age 46 of Hillside, NJ

• Mario E. Ramos, age 51 of Glendale, CA

• Lila V. Wroblewski, age 20 of Jersey City, NJ

• Niazja E. Rios, age 28 of Bronx, NY

• Cecilia A. Payne, age 28 of Bronx, NY

• Makeda A. Price, age 26 of Bronx, NY

• Karolina Gajdek, age 23 of Bronx, NY

• Rafaelito A. Ortiz, age 37 of Brooklyn, NY

The above individuals were charged with the following indictable offenses:

• One count of first-degree Maintaining and/or Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance
Production Facility, specifically an indoor marijuana grow facility with more than fifty
plants.

• One count of first-degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (marijuana) with the
Intent to Distribute (marijuana).

• One count of fourth-degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (marijuana).

Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp thanks the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Special Enforcement Unit/Narcotics Task Force, the Randolph Township Police Department, and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office for their efforts in this investigation.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite these accusations, the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they have been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Inquiries concerning this release should be directed to First Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Zelante at 973-285-6200.