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    Heroin, cocaine and meth were hidden in a box of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls, prosecutors said.

    A member of the MS-13 gang admitted to arranging to ship drugs to a New Jersey office while he was serving time in a California prison, federal officials said Tuesday.

    Luis Calderon, a Los Angeles gang member known as "Lagrima," pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to conspiracy to distribute and to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

    Calderon, 32, had access to multiple contraband cell phones while he was imprisoned in Calipatria State Prison in Imperial County, California, federal officials said. He used the phones to contact other gang members to arrange the drug shipment in 2015.

    Law enforcement officials said they recorded phone conversations between Calderon and MS-13 gang members in New Jersey as they arranged a drug shipment to Middlesex County to distribute methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine in the area.

    Calderon gave the gang member the names and a tracking number that would appear on a package sent to a business center in Edison, N.J., investigators said.

    A box of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls arrived at the location on Nov. 4, 2015, with 95.5 grams of heroin, 54.7 grams of cocaine, and 52.4 grams of methamphetamine hidden inside, according to the indictment. Federal officials intercepted the package.

    Calderon allegedly told the gang members to pay him $9,000 for the drugs, then keep the proceeds they made selling them in New Jersey.

    Calderon, a Los Angeles resident, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison in addition to a $10 million fine, prosecutors said. His sentencing is scheduled for June 25, 2018.

    Kelly Heyboer may be reached at kheyboer@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @KellyHeyboer. Find her at KellyHeyboerReporter on Facebook.
     


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    Paul Pappas, a 15-year veteran of the force, was arrested last month after allegedly slashing his ex's tires

    The Edison police officer who allegedly slashed his former girlfriend's tires while in uniform last month is now facing two more charges after an internal affairs investigation found he'd been using police records to stalk his ex for months. 

    Paul Pappas, a 15-year veteran of the force, was charged Tuesday with computer theft/criminal activity in the second degree and stalking in the fourth degree, the Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said in a release. 

    Along with the tire slashing incident in New Brunswick-- in which Pappas faces a criminal mischief charge, a disorderly person's offense -- the prosecutor's office said the Edison officer was making unauthorized requests into New Jersey Criminal Justice Information System to stalk his ex over the last six months. 

    Pappas, 43, who has since been suspended without pay, turned himself in on Tuesday. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 4.

    Pappas was hired by the department in 2003 and has an annual salary of $130,240, according to state pension records.

    An investigation by NJ Advance Media in 2012 revealed the officer had multiple complaints of assault, excessive force lawsuits and domestic dispute incidents. 

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips 

     

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    Conference pitchers and hitters of week for games April 9-15, 2018.


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    And, the results of the April school board elections.


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    One died, one lived. And a third baby - a 10-month-old girl - was found dead in a suitcase next to train tracks


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    A look at some of N.J.'s top college athletes in track and field.


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    The New Brunswick resident was honored with the "Loyal Sons and Loyal Daughters of Rutgers" award while allegedly selling dozens of investors on unregistered securities.

     

    To investors, it seemed like a good deal, state officials said.

    For less than $25,000, JB Financial Resources in New Brunswick told its clients they could write a check and get in on a short-term, safe investment secured by real estate. In return, they would be paid an annual interest rate of 5 percent or more.

    The investment was "simple, safer and secured," the firm's marketing materials promised.

    In reality, it was all a scam, authorities said.

    The investments offered by the New Brunswick firm were part of an alleged $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme that defrauded 8,400 investors across the country before it collapsed last year.

    Jeffrey Mitchell Isaacs and his company, JB Financial Resources in New Brunswick, were fined $750,000 earlier this week for allegedly selling New Jersey investors more than $7 million in unregistered securities tied to the Ponzi scheme, the state Attorney General's office and the state Division of Consumer Affairs announced.

    Isaacs and his company sold approximately 88 of the unregistered securities for the Woodbridge Group of Companies, the California-based real estate developer at the heart of the Ponzi scheme, state officials said. Isaacs was paid $195,000 by Woodbridge for the sales.

    "Despite having no legal authority to sell investments in New Jersey, Isaacs sold the unregistered Woodbridge securities to New Jersey investors," said Kevin Jespersen, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. "Isaacs shamelessly profited from this alleged Ponzi scheme while the investors that purchased the unregistered securities are now left to deal with the devastating impact of trying to recover their investments."

    Isaacs declined to comment on the fine via email and referred questions to his attorney, who did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

    Isaacs, of New Brunswick, is a former member of the Rutgers Board of Trustees and the current treasurer of the Livingston Alumni Association at Rutgers. In 2016, he was honored as one of the Loyal Sons and Loyal Daughters of Rutgers, an alumni award, for his extensive service to the university.

    The 1984 graduate of Rutgers' Livingston College is also a past president of the Livingston Alumni Association and was instrumental in creating a revenue sharing formula used by the university's alumni groups.

    Isaacs was previously investigated by the state. His agent and investment adviser registrations were suspended in 2013 for alleged dishonest or unethical practices, state Division of Consumer affairs officials said.

    Despite his suspension, Isaacs and his companies allegedly sold the unregistered securities offered by the Woodbridge Group to his clients between 2013 and 2017. In December, the Woodbridge Group filed for bankruptcy in California, stopped paying investors and the alleged Ponzi scheme collapsed.

    The Woodbridge Group was allegedly a developer of high-end real estate in California that made loans to developers. The company raised the money for the loans by selling first position commercial mortgages to investors through a nationwide network of sales agents.

    Most of the agents used by Woodbridge, including Isaacs, were not registered and many had been censured or barred by regulators, investigators said.

    Christopher Gerold, chief of the New Jersey Bureau of Securities in the state Division of Consumer Affairs, said unregistered agents are often at the heart of investment scams.

    "Had these investors checked with the bureau, they would have learned that Isaacs is not registered to sell securities in New Jersey, information that could have prevented them from becoming a victim," Gerold said. "As the case against Woodbridge moves forward, we will continue to identify and hold accountable the individuals that sold the unregistered securities in this alleged Ponzi scheme."

    In addition to JB Financial Resources, Isaac's companies include JMI Associates. His investors also wrote checks to another related company, 83 Delafield St. LLC, when investing in the alleged Ponzi scheme, investigators said.

    Kelly Heyboer may be reached at kheyboer@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @KellyHeyboer. Find her at KellyHeyboerReporter on Facebook.

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    Goals, assists, saves and ground balls. Who's setting the pace so far this season?


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  • 04/18/18--10:00: Art benefits animals
  • All proceeds benefit Angel P.A.W.S. Rescue.

    mx0422pet02.jpg 

    WOODBRIDGE -- Angel P.A.W.S. Rescue will hold its 10th annual "Pawcasso Art Auction Fundraiser" on April 28 at St. Anthony of Padua Parish Hall in Port Reading.

    This year's event will feature an appearance by comic book illustrator and actor John Stanisci as well as the traditional collection of "paw-printed artworks by shelter animals." Hors d'oeuvres, cheese, coffee and dessert are included with admission.

    The art auction preview starts at 6 p.m. with bidding beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is $15 per person or $25 per couple with all proceeds benefiting the nonprofit group based in Colonia. Payment may be made in advance or at the door by cash or check.

    For more information, call 732-713-0447 or 732-340-1199.

    St. Anthony of Padua hall is located at 436 Port Reading Ave. in Port Reading, Woodbridge Twp.

    Shelters interested in placing a pet in the Paw Print adoption column or submitting news should call 973-836-4922 or email middlesex@starledger.com.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    Check out the top senior talent and cast your ballot for who is the best.


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    The top prom song of the 1980s was "Every Breath You Take" by the Police; apparently, no one realized the lyrics were about a stalker ....

    The theme for my 1977 senior prom was "Harbor Lights." And, for decades I've thought how great it would have been if Boz Skaggs had performed. Well, before you scoff, it's not so farfetched. After all, famous rock bands have played at high schools.

    During a short period in the late 1960s, classic groups that performed in Union Catholic High School's gym in Scotch Plains included The Who, Black Sabbath and Cream.

    And UCHS appears to have had a counterpart in Staples High School in Westport, Conn., around the same time, hosting bands like the Doors, Sly and the Family Stone and the Animals.

    And in the 1960s and '70s, Cherry Hill East High School would regularly hold its proms at the Latin Casino in Cherry hill, a venue played by just about every major musical solo act of the time. Thus, the Class of 1963 got to see Andy Williams perform.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Our gallery shows a photo of the Tokens, who had a #1 hit with 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' in 1961, playing at an East Brunswick prom in 1969; no information is available on how and why that came about. The Yardbirds played the St. Xavier High School prom in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1968, though it should be noted that the school was large enough that the event was held at the Cincinnati Convention Center; the band was paid $2,000.

    little cypruss-mauriceville high school prom 1971.jpg 

    But this photo is my favorite. A band known as "Zee Zee Top" played the Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School prom in 1970. The band released its first album, removing four 'e's' in the interim, in 1971 and had their first chart single ("Francine") in 1972. ZZTop played a high school prom.

    Enjoy this collection of prom photos from the past in New Jersey, as well as these links to previous prom galleries.

    Vintage photos of proms in N.J.

    Vintage photos of N.J. proms

    Vintage photos of high school proms in NJ

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    From Marty Liquori to Sydney McLaughlin, N.J. has made its mark at Franklin Field.


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    The 76-year-old and his wife stopped on their way home from Florida

    A 76-year-old New Jersey man visiting friends in Georgia with his wife died and two others were injured in a house fire over the weekend, authorities said. 

    Ralph Perone Jr, 76, of Middlesex Borough, died of heart failure, the Cherokee County Coroner's Office said. Perone's wife, Eileen, was treated at a local hospital and has flown back to New Jersey to prepare for her husband's funeral, the Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services said. 

    The Perones were driving home from Florida and had stopped in Woodstock, Georgia for the night.

    Their hosts, an 82-year-old man and a 74-year-old woman were also hospitalized with injuries. A 5-year-old staying at the house also escaped unharmed.

    Fire officials said the blaze broke out late Saturday night and destroyed the multi-story home on the 200 block of North Briar Ridge.

    30708624_1847369855281925_3606966775595401216_o.jpgThe remains of a house in Woodstock, Ga. destroyed by a fire Saturday night. (Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services) 

    The 74-year-old resident said a bright light awakened her before the house's smoke alarms went off, authorities said. She then attempted to get the other four occupants out of the house, authorities said.

    Woodstock is about 33 miles miles northwest of downtown Atlanta. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     


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    Jerry Green was the longest-serving current member of the state Assembly.

    State Assemblyman Jerry Green, a revered Democrat who spent the last quarter-century serving in the New Jersey Legislature's lower house, has died at age 79.

    Green, a fixture of Union County and state politics, had been ill for months. Though he was elected to a 14th term in November, he had not attended an Assembly voting session in months.

    He died Wednesday, three days after 79th birthday. 

    The Plainfield resident served in the Assembly since 1992. He was the longest-serving current member of the chamber.

    Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin called Green a "giant of the Assembly."

    "He was sharp when it came to politics and policy, a true leader and a model for all to emulate," Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said. "It's quite simply impossible to imagine the Assembly without Jerry Green." 

    His death drew an outpouring of similar remembrances from across the Garden State.

    U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman. D-12th, who served with Green in the Assembly for 17 years, called him a "true champion of our Democratic values."

    "His passing is a great loss, but our memory of all he accomplished and all those he helped will not dissipate," Watson Coleman added.

    Jerry GreenJerry Green is shown in 1992. 

    Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, a former Assembly speaker, said Green's "quiet demeanor and understated humor hid a giant of the Legislature who was unafraid to go to the mat for his constituents and the values of equality, fairness, and opportunity he held deep within himself."

    Gov. Phil Murphy said Green was "one of a kind" -- someone "tough as nails" but "also a gentleman, whose bigger-than-New Jersey smile and quiet humor could easily light up a room."

    State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said Green was "a man who made a real difference."

    U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., called Green "the lion of the Assembly."

    Green led battles for civil rights and education throughout his 26 years in the Assembly. Notably, he helped return Abbott District status to Plainfield schools.  

    But his signature platform was fighting for affordable housing -- a sticky issue in New Jersey that has been plagued by years of setbacks and arguments. He was chairman of the Assembly Housing and Development Committee.

    "No one knew more about affordable housing, and no one fought harder for it to become a reality for hard-working New Jerseyans," Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, said. 

    Assemblyman James Kennedy, D-Union -- his district mate -- said Green taught him about "the fundamental need to help those who are less fortunate."

    Green grew up in Roselle and was a star basketball player in high school. He told the website TAPintoSPF in 2015 that he originally wanted to be a teacher but found business provided more money. 

    Soon, he was working as a butcher in a supermarket. But age 27, he owned stores of his own. 

    Green entered politics int he early 80s when he was elected to the Union County freeholder board. He served there form 1982-84 and again from 1989-91.

    Green was elected to the Assembly in 1991.

    He was also the chairman of the Union County Democratic Committee since 2013, but was recently succeeded by state Sen. Nicholas Scutari amid his illness.

    Green was the Assembly's speaker pro tempore since 2008 and as deputy speaker from 2002-02. He represented New Jersey's 22nd district, which included parts of Middlesex, Somerset, and Union counties -- including his hometown of Plainfield.

    Democratic committee members from those counties will now be charged with voting on a replacement for Green in the Assembly who will served until a special election in November for the final year of Green's term.

    Green is survived by his wife Wanda. 

    Brent Johnson may be reached at bjohnson@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.


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    A 14-year-old Highland Park girl allegedly caused the death of her newborn son. The teen's mom now faces charges.

    The mother of a 14-year-old girl, who allegedly caused the death of her newborn son, was charged Thursday with not seeking medical care for the teen, authorities said.

    The Highland Park woman endangered the welfare of a child for neglecting to seek medical attention for her daughter on two occasions, and she tampered with evidence where a crime was committed, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. Authorities did not reveal more details on the allegations against the 35-year-old woman.

    The prosecutor's office also did not release the woman's name to protect the identity of her 14-year-old daughter, who faces a juvenile delinquency offense equivalent to murder in the adult justice system.

    Police discovered the baby outside a Lincoln Avenue home Monday afternoon in Highland Park. Emergency crews rushed the infant to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he died.

    In a statement Monday, the prosecutor's office said the teen "caused the death of her newborn boy."

    Authorities have not revealed the cause of the infant's death. It was not immediately clear how long the infant had been outside the home before the baby was discovered, or when the teen gave birth.

    Diamond Mejias told News12 she spotted the baby with his umbilical cord still attached next to the Highland Park house. Mejias said her stepfather administered CPR until emergency responders arrived.

    Anyone with information may call Highland Park Police Detective Sean McGraw at 732-572-3800, or Detective Erik Larsen of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at 732-745-3263.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at csheldon@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    N.J. is winning the fight against soot, but the state's ozone levels are still concerning according to 2018 "State of the Air" report

    There's good and bad news about the quality of New Jersey's air.

    Fewer areas in the Garden State are suffering from pollution caused by air particles, like soot and fine dust. Ozone pollution, on the other hand, is worsening.

    That assessment comes from the American Lung Association's newly released 2018 "State of the Air" report, which details air pollution around the nation from 2014 to 2016 and found that more than four in 10 Americans live with unhealthy air.

    According to the report, both ozone and soot pollution can contribute to lung cancer and other health problems.

    Ozone, the main ingredient in smog, that is found in air near the Earth's surface can be extremely harmful to people. It's effects can be described as "sunburn for the lungs," said to Kevin Stewart, a spokesman for the American Lung Association.

    "Someone could have an asthma attack as a result of this," Stewart said of ozone pollution. "Someone could go to the emergency room, and we know that asthma can kill people."

    Stewart said that ozone isn't typically emitted directly into the air, but rather forms when other pollutants combine. The chemical reaction that causes ozone to form happens more frequently in hot weather.

    Out of 227 metro areas, the greater New York area (which includes Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties) was listed as the 10th worst city for ozone pollution. The greater Philadelphia area (which includes Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties) was listed as the 24th worst city for ozone pollution.

    The report grades individual counties on an A through F scale based on the number of high pollution days they registered during the study. In New Jersey, 15 of the state's 21 counties monitor ozone pollution. Of those, 11 scored F's; Morris County scored a D; and Atlantic, Cumberland and Warren counties scored C's. New Jersey's ozone pollution grades are worse compared to last year's report.

    Because air pollution is not confined by state borders, the report measures metro areas rather than individual states. New Jersey is split between the New York and Philadelphia metro areas. However, Stewart said that if New Jersey was measured as a whole it would still rank as one of the worst ozone pollution areas.

    OzoneGrades.jpgOzone pollution grades for New Jersey counties, according to the American Lung Association's 2018 "State of the Air" report. Map courtesy of the American Lung Association. 

    As for soot pollution, New Jersey showed improvement from last year's report.

    The greater Philadelphia area was also listed as the 12th worst city for year round air particle pollution, out of 187 metro areas. The greater New York area was ranked 26th.

    But areas in Delaware and Connecticut, also included in those metro areas, were more polluted than New Jersey, Stewart said. Overall, the Garden State is in pretty good shape when it comes to particle pollution. Of the 13 counties that monitor particle pollution in the state, all but one were graded A or B. Union County, the worst offender, received a C.

    DailyParticleGrades.jpgDaily air particle pollution grades for New Jersey counties, according to the American Lung Association's 2018 "State of the Air" report. Map courtesy of the American Lung Association. 

    Part of the reason New Jersey may have less soot pollution is because the state has focused on putting cleaner engines on the road and expanding renewable energy in the state, said Larry Hajna, spokesman for theNew Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Also, the closure of New Jersey coal power plants and the phasing out of old diesel engines have been important in cutting back the Garden State's air particle pollution, he added.

    Cutting back vehicle emissions is also a way to combat ozone pollution, Hajna said. He noted that New Jersey has some of the strictest vehicle emissions regulations in the nation, but that the state can do little to address emissions blowing into the Garden State from elsewhere. Specifically, Hajna said it is common for ozone pollution from Pennsylvania and points south to blow northward into New Jersey.

    Hajna also noted the state's renewed push for wind energy and electric vehicles.

    "All administrations in New Jersey, going back decades, have taken air quality seriously," Hajna said. "This administration is no different."

    Michael Sol Warren may be reached at mwarren@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MSolDub. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    From Anthony Ashnault to Sydney McLaughlin, New Jersey's high school sports legends are well represented in the national record books.


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    Roscoe is good with children and gets along with other dogs.

    mx0422pet.jpgRoscoe 

    EDISON -- Roscoe is a 2-year-old German shepherd/coonhound mix at the Edison Animal Shelter. Shelter workers say he is "loving, playful and somewhat active."

    He is good with children and gets along with other dogs, but he instinctively wants to chase cats, squirrels and birds. Roscoe, who needs a cat-free home, is housetrained, has been neutered and is up-to-date on shots.

    For more information on Roscoe, call 732-248-7278 or visit the Edison Animal Shelter at 125 Municipal Blvd. The shelter, currently caring for 52 pets, is open Fridays through Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Shelters interested in placing a pet in the Paw Print adoption column or submitting news should call 973-836-4922 or email middlesex@starledger.com.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    If you think New Jersey is immune to snow in late April or early May, think again.


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    Hottest baseball stories of the week.


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