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AG Grewal and Colonel Callahan issue update on charges filed against violators of Gov. Murphy’s COVID-19 executive orders

NEW JERSEY – Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions against alleged violators of Governor Murphy’s Emergency Orders related to COVID-19:

  • Alex Nugent, 19, of Randolph, and Christopher Aro, 19, of Stanhope, were charged with violating the executive orders and possession of marijuana, both disorderly persons offenses, after their vehicle was stopped by police in Stanhope on April 8 for a motor vehicle violation.
  • Karin E. Fialka, 47 of Whitehouse Station, was charged on April 10, with violating the executive orders for opening her business, Up In Smoke Vape Shop on U.S. Route 202 in Raritan Township, after she was previously warned that she needed to close the shop.
  • Newark Enforcement, The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 25 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered two non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions on April 10.
  • William Wolverton, 50, of Egg Harbor Township, was charged on April 10, with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency in connection with his arrest on April 1. While being processed on weapons and drug charges, Wolverton was told he was being charged on a warrant and would be lodged in the county jail. Wolverton allegedly said he was COVID-19 positive and was going to infect everyone in the station. He refused to submit to fingerprints, spat on the floor and toward an officer, and refused to comply with booking procedures.
  • Miles Costabile, 21, of Hamilton, was charged by the Robbinsville Police Department on April 11 with second-degree terroristic threats and DWI. Costabile was taken into custody for DWI after he crashed into a fence. While being processed at police headquarters, he allegedly coughed at officers and stated that he had COVID-19.
  • John R. Mason, 34, , and Shaheeda Hobdy, 32, of Glassboro, were charged by the Glassboro Police on April 7 with third-degree endangering and disorderly conduct. Police responded to a report of a large party at the defendants’ apartment and learned that they were holding a birthday party for a child with 15 to 20 people present, including several small children.
  • Kenneth D. Robles, 40 of Cherry Hill, was charged by the Pennsauken Police on April 9 with violating the executive orders for opening his business, Top Notch Barber Shop in Pennsauken. He was cutting a client’s hair with the windows covered and a roll-down gate over the door.
  • Aziah Hansford, of Passaic, was charged by the Passaic Police on April 9 with disorderly conduct. He was involved in a fight on Market Street. When police arrived, he allegedly told an officer he had the coronavirus and hoped that the officer would get it from their interaction.
  • Elizabeth Enforcement, The Elizabeth Police Department’s issued five summonses for violations of the emergency orders in enforcement actions on Thursday, April 9.
  • Mahmud Ibn-Dawud, 63, of Elizabeth, was charged on April 10, by the Elizabeth Police Department with violating the emergency orders for refusing to leave a city park.
  • Pearl Moore, 54, of Elizabeth, was charged on April 10, by the Elizabeth Police Department with violating the emergency orders for loitering outside without a legitimate purpose after being warned.

Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses.

On April 1, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders. Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Defendants Wolverton and Costabile are similarly charged for their conduct against law enforcement officers.

Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here: covid19.nj.gov/violation. To report bias crimes call 1-800-277-BIAS.

The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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