Monmouth County News Briefs, Nov. 30

Members of the New Jersey State Senate interviewed Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago on Nov. 21 and then unanimously voted to confirm his nomination by Gov. Phil Murphy to assume the role in full capacity for a five-year term.

Santiago, 48, who has lived and worked in Monmouth County for more than 20 years, will become the 30th fully confirmed county prosecutor to serve Monmouth County since the first took office nearly 200 years ago, in 1823, according to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

“Today’s confirmation is as much a collective achievement as a personal one and I cannot thank enough the innumerable individuals who steadfastly supported the fulfillment of a dream I have nurtured for the better part of my career,” Santiago said.

“I assume this role with a genuine sense of deep awe and respect, both for the long and
storied history of this office, and for the dedication and tenacity exhibited by the
several hundred individuals who every day continue to support its overarching goal of
serving the interests of justice,” he said.

A swearing-in ceremony for the start of Santiago’s full term will be forthcoming, according to the press release. He has been serving as the acting prosecutor since Oct. 7.

Santiago most recently headed the Law Offices of Santiago & Associates, P.C.,
based in Freehold, a law firm that focused on the litigation of criminal and immigration
law, according to the press release.

 

The Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners has announced that a contract has been finalized with Seastreak to begin offering ferry services between the Belford Ferry Terminal in Middletown and Manhattan starting Dec. 5.

“The new contract between the county and Seastreak will provide significantly more options to residents traveling to and from New York City,” Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone said.

Under the new agreement, the Seastreak terminals in Highlands and Atlantic Highlands will be connected to the Belford Ferry Terminal via a free Seastreak shuttle bus service, according to a press release.

“Commuters leaving Manhattan will have a total of 22 departure options per day and the flexibility to return to their vehicles from any of the terminals located in Monmouth County,” Arnone said.

Seastreak plans to expand its seasonal excursions to include departures from the Belford Terminal in Middletown, and Monmouth County residents will be able to take advantage of seasonal weekend ferry services starting in spring 2023, according to the press release.

“Monmouth County is committed to a smooth transition between our previous partner, New York Waterways, and Seastreak to guarantee travelers will not be impacted by the change in service providers,” Arnone said.

 

A Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) officer has pled guilty in connection with the distribution of narcotics to inmates in the jail, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced on Nov. 23.

The county jail is in Freehold Township.

Bryant Mack, 54, of Shamong, pled guilty on Nov. 18 in front of New Jersey Superior Court Judge Jill G. O’Malley, sitting in Freehold, to second degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), according to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

At the time of Mack’s plea, O’Malley entered an order forfeiting Mack’s job at the jail and prohibiting him from holding public office again in New Jersey.

An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Responsibility and Bias Crime Bureau and the MCCI Special Investigations Division revealed that Mack, who had been a corrections officer for 18 years, would smuggle CDS and other contraband into the facility hidden in bags of potato chips.

Mack would provide the items to an inmate who would then facilitate the distribution of the items throughout the jail. Mack’s criminal activity came to light on Sept. 4, 2021, when officers caught two inmates with CDS and other contraband in their cells and traced the items back to Mack, according to the press release.

During his plea, Mack admitted he entered into an agreement with an inmate to bring CDS and other contraband into the jail in exchange for payment and that he brought a schedule 1 CDS into the facility on Sept. 4, 2021, according to the press release.

Mack faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced before O’Malley on April 21,
2023.

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