Three men who shot New Jersey motorcyclist in drive-by arrested

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North Plainfield, NJ – Three men who repeatedly shot at a motorcyclist this weekend on Route 22 have been arrested.

The New Jersey State Police have arrested Matthew Plaza, 32, of Allentown, PA, Luis Velez, 37, of Bethlehem, PA, and Raymond Bethancourt, 35, of Shillington, PA for allegedly shooting a motorcycle rider during a verbal altercation on Interstate 287 in Somerset County.

On Sunday, May 23, at 6:41 p.m., troopers from Somerville Station were dispatched to a shooting complaint on Chimney Rock Road in Bridgewater Township where a victim called 9-1-1 to report that another driver pulled up next to him, brandished a gun, and shot him while riding his motorcycle on Interstate 287. He was able to provide a description of the driver and vehicle, which was a white Honda Accord hatchback with a Pennsylvania license plate.

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A short time later, officers with the North Plainfield Police Department located and stopped the vehicle on State Highway 22 in North Plainfield Township. When troopers arrived, they took custody of Plaza, Velez, and Bethancourt and transported them to Somerville Station. During the investigation, troopers executed a search warrant on the vehicle and located a 9mm handgun, .38 caliber revolver, marijuana, and ecstasy pills. The victim was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and later released.


Matthew Plaza, Luis Velez, and Raymond Bethancourt were charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a high capacity magazine, possession of weapons for unlawful purposes, possession of CDS with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to commit murder. Matthew Plaza was also charged with attempted murder. All three were lodged at the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.

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