New Brunswick, NJ- The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO), said that six individuals have been indicted on conspiracy to commit bias intimidation, burglary, and robbery after they allegedly targeted five Asian-Indian families living Old Bridge, Edison, and South Plainfield in October and November of last year.
According to the MCPO, the defendants were identified by the grand jury as Chaka Castro, also known as Catina Dennings, 39, Juan Olaya, 34, Octavious Scott, 22, Johnisha Williams, 19, Justin Johnson, 25, all from Houston, Texas, and Jakeyra Augustus, 21, of North Texas City, Texas.
Bail has been set for each of the defendants at $1.25 million.
A total of 103 counts are included in the five indictments and, in addition to conspiracy, charge the defendants with counts of bias intimidation, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, terroristic threats, criminal mischief, theft by unlawful taking, and hindering their own apprehension according to the MCPO.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey said that there was enough evidence to charge the following defendants with bias intimidation.
“After the initial arrests were made in the case, our continuing investigation brought to light additional facts that enabled us to present evidence of bias crimes to the grand jury,” Carey said, noting such charges had not been filed previously.
Carey said that the MCPO coordinated its efforts with other various law enforcement agencies such as the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI, New Jersey State Police, the Old Bridge, South Plainfield and Edison Police Departments, as well as other law enforcement agencies in Georgia, Michigan, New York, and Texas.
“Investigators from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and a number of other law enforcement agencies worked carefully and diligently to secure this additional evidence, and have my sincere thanks and appreciation,” Carey said.
The defendants were charged during the investigation in which Agent John Selesky and Detective John Marotta, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, determined that Castro targeted specific homes in the three Middlesex County communities and then directed her co-defendants to commit the crimes.
Scott and Olaya entered each of the homes at gunpoint, restrained the families, and fled with stolen items in each of the five home invasions, according to the MCPO.
They also threatened homeowners and smashed cell phones to prevent victims from calling police, said the release.
Johnson and Augustus assisted in some of the home invasions. In all but the home invasion in Old Bridge on Nov. 29, 2014, Williams waited outside the homes and drove their accomplices from the crime scenes.
In addition to the Nov. 29, 2014, home invasion, the defendants were charged with committing home invasions in Old Bridge on Oct. 20, 2014, and Oct. 26, 2014, in South Plainfield on Oct. 28, 2014, and in Edison on Oct. 30, 2014.
The investigation is ongoing and that anyone with information relating to this case is urged to call their local police, or Agent Selesky of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745-3439, or Detective Marotta of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745- 3331.