15 people aboard a party bus found with several guns, drugs in New Jersey
There once was a party bus heading -- somewhere -- but when law enforcement learned what was on said bus, the destination was nowhere.
It was Saturday night, October 30 into the wean hours of October 31, that a party bus was heading through Mercer County, New Jersey when Detectives with the State Police Crime Suppression Central Unit learned that on board were people in possession of several weapons.
Police learned that the bus would eventually be coming back to the Trenton area along I-195.
When it did, in Hamilton Township specifically, NJSP-CSU Detectives along with the NJSP-Opioid Enforcement Task Force, Trenton Police and Hamilton Police spotted the bus and pulled it over.
An on-scene investigation led law enforcement to find and seize six-guns -- two of which are ghost guns -- as well as four high-capacity magazines, hollow-point ammunition, and drugs.
Police also said people on board tried to allegedly hide the weapons when Detectives came towards the bus.
When the on-scene investigation was done in full, detectives recovered three 9-mm handguns -- two of those are ghost guns -- along with a .45 caliber handgun, a .40 caliber handgun, a .380 caliber handgun, four high-capacity magazines, hollow-point ammunition, and promethazine, a prescription syrup.
After arrests and charges, New Jersey Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced today that 15 people have now been indicted for their roles in the guns and drugs party bus incident.
“These guns are a danger to public safety, and we in law enforcement are committed to stopping violence and preventing criminals from getting their hands on illegal weapons,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck said in a statement. “Let this indictment be a warning to those engaging in criminal behavior: you will be held accountable.”
Each of the 15 below have been indicted on 2nd degree unlawful possession of a weapon, 3rd degree unlawful possession of a firearm without a serial number, 4th degree possession of hollow nose ammunition, 4th degree unlawful possession of large capacity ammunition magazines, and various first-, second-, third- and fourth-degree weapons offenses.
Those who have an asterisk next to their name also face 2nd degree certain persons not to have weapons charges.
- Javon McKinney, 22, of Trenton.
- Jaquan Harper, 20, of Trenton.
- Jahmel Johnson*, 24, of Trenton.
- Joshus Chavis, 21, of Trenton.
- Tahvon Goss*, 23, of Trenton.
- Makai Brown, 21, of Atlanta, GA.
- Maurice Nance, 20, of Trenton.
- Harold Ruiz*, 22, of Trenton.
- Zaequan Cofield, 21, of Trenton.
- Khalil Glanton, 22, of Trenton.
- Daquane McRae*, 26, of Trenton.
- Zaire Leary*, 24, of Trenton.
- Daquan Lewis*, 27, of Trenton.
- Aaron Turner*, 31, of Trenton.
- Kena West*, 25, of Trenton.
Attorney General Bruck said that McKinney, Harper, Johnson, and Chavis are also being charged with 2nd degree possession, receipt, or transfer of a community gun in connection with one of the firearms seized.
If any are convicted on the first-degree charge, they could face a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000, and if convicted on the second-degree charges, they could face a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison along with a fine of up to $150,000.
If any are convicted on the third-degree charges, they could face a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, and fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
“This indictment is a great example of our commitment to keep illegal firearms out of our communities,” Director Lyndsay V. Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners across all levels to hold those who break the law accountable and reduce the presence of illegal weapons to prevent gun violence in our state.”
"As a result of our detectives’ hard work and keen investigative skills, a cache of illegal weapons and ammunition was removed from the streets. Those in possession will now have to answer for their crimes,” Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said in a statement. “These indictments are a testament to the dedication and commitment the New Jersey State Police and our law enforcement partners share in order to make our communities safer for residents."
Here are the Defense Attorneys for the accused:
- Javon McKinney: Arun D. Lavine, Esq., Lawrenceville, N.J.
- Jaquan Harper: Jarred S. Freeman, Esq., Edison, N.J.
- Jahmel Johnson: Douglas A. Cole, Esq., Milford, N.J.
- Tahvon Goss: Edward H. Heyburn, Esq., East Windsor, N.J.
- Makai Brown: Brian McCauley, Esq., Red Bank, N.J.
- Maurice Nance: Jacqueline A. Higueruela, Esq., Trenton, N.J.
- Harold Ruiz: Christopher G. Olsen, Esq., Metuchen, N.J.
- Khalil Glanton: Kerlin Hyppolite, Esq., Cinnaminson, N.J.
- Daquane McRae: Terrell A. Ratliff, Esq., Cherry Hill, N.J.
- Zaire Leary: Mark A. Fury, Esq., Mount Holly, N.J.
- Daquan Lewis: Edward J. Hesketh, Esq., Clinton, N.J.
- Aaron Turner: Andrew Seewald, Esq., New Brunswick, N.J.
- Kena West: Peter V. Abatemarco, Esq., Lambertville, N.J.
- For Others: Undetermined