More Charges For Suspects In Police Shooting

Press conferenceThe Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has filed additional charges against three men targeted in a drug- and gun-trafficking investigation that was punctuated by a shootout in which four Lakewood policemen and a suspect were injured. The suspect who was injured in the Sept. 24 shootout remains hospitalized, another is in jail, and the third has been released on bail on an initial charge. Two of the four officers were hospitalized after the shooting during the raid at 1154 Mackenzie Court in Lakewood and since have been released.

The new charges were filed against Jaime Gonzalez, 39, who police said started the shootout; his brother Carlos Javier Franco, 36, who had been arrested in Seaside Heights two hours before the shootout; and Edwin Lugo, who also lived in the Lakewood house and was present at the time of the shooting.

Gonzalez — who lived at the MacKenzie Court address, where authorities had a no-knock warrant to enter — now faces charges including maintaining a fortified structure for the purpose of possessing, manufacturing and distributing controlled dangerous substances, a charge based on the home being equipped with a security system to alert to people on his property, officials said. He also was charged with possession of body armor.

In addition, the complaint against Gonzalez charges him with possession of more than 5 ounces of cocaine, possession of the drug MDMA, intent to distribute cocaine, possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana, possession with the intent to distribute it, and possession of a firearm while committing or conspiring to commit a drug offense. He additionally was charged with possession of a smaller amount of cocaine and intent to distribute it Sept. 2, Aug. 19, Aug. 6 and July 29, the complaint states.

Gonzalez initially was charged with four counts of attempted murder of the police officers, possession of a stolen handgun from South Carolina and possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose. His bail on those charges was set at $2 million. His bail was increased by $250,000 because of the new charges.

Gonzalez remained in stable condition at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

The new charges against Franco are possession of cocaine and intent to distribute the drug July 29, Aug, 6, Aug. 19 and Sept. 2. He initially was charged with possession of less than a half-ounce of heroin; possession of the drug with the intent to distribute; possession with the intent to distribute in a school zone and in a recreation zone; and possession of drug paraphernalia, including a scale and hypodermic needles.

Franco’s bail initially was set at $75,000, but has been increased to $150,000 on the new charges.

Members of the Prosecutor’s Office Special Operations Group; Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and State Police had arrested Franco about 12:30 a.m. Sept. 24 in Seaside Heights. The agencies served the no-knock search warrant about 2:30 a.m. at the Lakewood home, authorities said.

Lugo, 34, also known as Jose Vasquez, was charged initially with obstruction. He was charged additionally with possession of cocaine and possession with the intent to distribute.

Lugo had been released from the Ocean County Jail in Toms River on $20,000 cash bail on the obstruction charge, but now a warrant for his arrest sets his bail at $150,000, and he must show the source of the bail money. APP

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