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Five men charged with murders tied to human trafficking

Five New Jersey men have been charged in connection with two murders that took place in Bridgeton in 2014. The indictments, handed down by a Cumberland County grand jury, stem from the shooting death of a 24-year-old man on Aug. 16, 2014, and the stabbing of a 32-year-old man approximately two weeks later. Authorities said both killings were connected to a statewide prostitution and human trafficking ring run by one of the defendants.

The defendant accused of operating the ring, a 40-year-old New Brunswick man, was indicted on charges of first-degree felony murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree promoting organized street crime. Two 22-year-old New Brunswick men, a 30-year-old New Brunswick man and an 18-year-old Somerset man were also indicted on first-degree felony murder charges and conspiracy to commit murder. Two of the defendants face additional weapons charges. One defendant is being held in the Cumberland County Jail. The other four defendants are being held in North Jersey jails.

Felony murder charges are extremely serious and may lead to severe consequences in the event of conviction. However, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty and have the right to the representation of defense counsel to vigorously protect their interests.

Individuals charged with murder may wish to contact a lawyer immediately upon their arrest. Having legal representation present during police questioning could prevent a defendant from making any statements that could be used against them in court. After reviewing the evidence in the case, an attorney may develop a legal strategy for fighting the allegations in court. Another possibility could be to enter into a plea negotiation with prosecutors in an attempt to reduce the charges.

Source: NJ.com, "Five men indicted in Bridgeton brothel murder case," Spencer Kent, March 14, 2015

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