TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man made his initial appearance today after being charged with illegally possessing a handgun, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Lashawn Alford, 27, of Asbury Park, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He appeared by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert and was detained pending a bail hearing.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On July 20, 2020, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detectives and Neptune City Police Officers responded to an apartment complex in Neptune City to conduct surveillance of suspected gang activity. Law enforcement officers observed Alford, a previously convicted felon, exit an apartment and get into the back of a car that drove out of the complex. Law enforcement knew Alford to be a member of the Queen Street II Bloods street gang and determined that Alford had an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Asbury Park. Law enforcement stopped the car and arrested Alford. A loaded Smith and Wesson, model M&P Compact, .22 caliber pistol was located on the floor of the car where Alford had been sitting.
The felon in possession of a firearm charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson in Newark; officers of the Neptune City Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Matthew Quagliato; and detectives of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, with the investigation leading to today’s charges.
The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Matthews of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.