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SHOPPING CENTER SHOOTING

Police: Cop shot during undercover buy in NJ

GARFIELD, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say a police officer is in stable condition after he was shot during an undercover narcotics operation at a shopping center parking lot in northern New Jersey.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli says the undercover officer was in a vehicle parked in a Garfield shopping center with a suspect, carrying out a $400 transaction to buy marijuana. A second suspect approached the vehicle and became aggressive with the officer, shooting him twice during a scuffle.

Narcotics task force members monitoring the buy fired multiple times at the suspect, who is hospitalized with injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

Two people were arrested at the scene, a third was arrested nearby.

Police are withholding the officer's name due to his undercover status. He's a nine-year veteran of the Paramus police.

FUNERAL-SHOOTING

Police: 3 wounded at shooting victim's funeral

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Three people were shot and wounded when gunfire erupted outside a Trenton church where a funeral was being held for a 19-year-old shooting victim.

Trenton police say two men were hospitalized with undisclosed wounds, while a woman was being treated for a graze wound. The injuries were not considered life-threatening.

One man was reportedly arrested in connection with the shooting, but his name and further details were not disclosed. The arrest came during a traffic stop, and published reports say police found some guns in the car.

The funeral was for Cagney Roberts, a Trenton resident who was killed in an April 10 shooting in the city that also wounded two other men. More than 100 mourners attended the services.

No arrests have been made in Roberts' slaying.

CHRISTIE-TRAFFIC JAMS

New Jersey panel orders testimony on traffic jams

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey legislative committee is ordering current and former aides to Gov. Chris Christie and two officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to testify in its probe on politically motivated traffic jams last year near the George Washington Bridge.

Lawmakers announced Tuesday that they had issued subpoenas to former Christie aide Christina Genovese Renna, current press secretary Michael Drewniak, Port Authority Commissioner William Schuber and executive director Patrick Foye.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski says the panel has received documents that answer some questions but raise others. He says the best way to get answers is to question officials under oath.

All four are being told to appear before the legislative committee in May.

Christie has denied any involvement in orchestrating the jams.

MORTGAGE FRAUD CONSPIRACY

Loan officer admits role in mortgage fraud scheme

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A central New Jersey man has admitted his role in a large-scale mortgage fraud scheme that caused millions of dollars in losses.

Federal prosecutors say 71-year-old Delio Coutinho of Colonia pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He now faces up to 30 years in prison when he's sentenced.

The fraud occurred from March 2008 through June 2012.

The defendants conspired with themselves and others to release liens on encumbered properties via fraudulently arranged short sale transactions. This allowed them to profit from new fraudulent mortgage loans obtained on the properties from other mortgage lenders.

To complete the sales, the defendants submitted false closing and other documents to mortgage lenders.

Prosecutors say Coutinho was a loan officer at a north Jersey mortgage brokerage company who submitted false documents.

PHARMACEUTICALS-INSIDER TRADING

Drug firm exec gets 16 months in inside-trade case

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A former pharmaceutical executive has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in an insider trading scheme.

John Lazorchak was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Newark, N.J.

Lazorchak was director of financial reporting at Celgene Corp. when he was arrested in November 2012 along with five other people. One of the others was Mark Cupo, an executive at French drugmaker Sanofi Aventis' U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater, N.J.

All six defendants have pleaded guilty. Lazorchak pleaded guilty in the fall to conspiracy and five counts of securities fraud.

The U.S. attorney's office contends the men used inside information to exploit deals involving the two pharmaceutical firms and other companies.

CRASH-OFFICER HURT

Man pleads not guilty in crash that injured cop

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) - A high school teacher has pleaded not guilty to several charges stemming from what authorities say was an alcohol-related crash that critically injured a Bergen County Police Department officer.

Michael Ettz entered his pleas during a court hearing Tuesday in Hackensack.

County prosecutors say the officer, 39-year-old Daniel Breslin, was assisting another officer when the crash occurred early Saturday on Route 46 westbound in Lodi. Breslin had pulled his cruiser alongside the other officer's car shortly before the cruiser was rear-ended by Ettz's vehicle.

The officer suffered a significant head injury and underwent surgery for a skull fracture and bleeding. Ettz was treated for minor injuries

The 36-year-old Lodi man remains free on $150,000 bail. He faces numerous counts, including aggravated assault and leaving the scene of an accident.

ONLINE SEXUAL DECEPTION

Man gets lengthy sentence for producing child porn

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey man who produced images of child sexual abuse has been sentenced to nearly 18 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors say Fredy Arbito of Hightstown will have to register as a sex offender under the sentence imposed Tuesday. He also will be under lifetime supervised release once he's freed from prison.

When he pleaded guilty last October to a charge of producing child pornography, the 31-year-old Arbito admitted that he knowingly coerced an 11-year-old girl to engage in sexually-explicit conduct and transmitted it over the Internet. He also admitted keeping copies of the video on his own computer.

Those acts occurred between July 2011 and January 2013.

DRUG RING BUST

Union Co. busts 20 involved in alleged drug ring

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - Twenty people have been arrested for alleged roles in a multi-level drug ring that trafficked in substances ranging from heroin to counterfeit Viagra.

Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park announced the results of the yearlong investigation Tuesday.

The investigation initially focused on a location in Linden, but branched out to other sites there and in Rahway, Elizabeth, Bloomfield and Newark. One of the Linden locations allegedly housed a heroin mill, complete with a video surveillance system.

Authorities said they seized cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, counterfeit Viagra and MDMA - known as "molly" - at the different locations as well as 10,000 units of prescription pills. They also seized more than $100,000 in cash, two handguns and four vehicles.

The street value of the drugs was estimated at more than $500,000.

ILLEGAL GUN SALES

Authorities: 6 indicted for illegal weapons sales

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Six Newark men have been indicted on charges they conspired to illegally sell 10 guns, including two stolen weapons, an assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine and hollow-point bullets.

Acting state Attorney General John Hoffman announced the charges Tuesday. The indictment handed up by a state grand jury includes several conspiracy and weapons counts.

Two of the men - 20-year-old Issac Torres-Zambrano and 47-year-old George Wright - allegedly orchestrated the sales on five occasions between Sept. 11 and Oct. 2. Authorities say the guns were sold to an undercover operative working with the state police.

The sales involved an SKS assault rifle with an illegal high-capacity magazine; three handguns, including a stolen .44-caliber revolver and two semi-automatic handguns; four shotguns, including a stolen double-barrel, 12-gauge shotgun; and two hunting rifles.

SUPERSTORM-NJ-POLL

Poll: New Jersey not back to normal post-Sandy

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - A new poll finds that two-thirds of New Jersey residents believe the state is not back to normal 18 months after Superstorm Sandy.

Just one in 12 of those who say the recovery isn't complete are optimistic that it will be in the next year, according to the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll out Wednesday. And 13 percent don't think the state will ever return to normal.

There was little difference in perspective about the progress of recovery between those who were personally affected by the storm and those who were not.

The telephone poll of 816 adults was taken from March 31-April 6. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

CHRISTIE-CHAMBER DINNER

Christie talks to NJ leaders on Washington trip

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is giving his state's business leaders a pep talk from Washington, D.C.

He met with the members of the corporate community, lawmakers and lobbyists on the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's annual trek to the nation's capital on Tuesday.

Christie struck some familiar themes, including the need to again rein in public worker retirement benefits and re-adopt a 2 percent cap on raises arbitrators can award police officers and firefighters. The possible 2016 presidential contender warns of dire economic consequences if the state fails to act.

The state delegation rode the rails to Washington on a chartered train. The trip had been scheduled for February but was postponed because of snow.

PEOPLE-JON BON JOVI

Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Rock star Jon Bon Jovi is showing some brotherly love to the less fortunate in Philadelphia.

On Tuesday, he attended the grand opening of a low-income housing development that bears his initials. The 55-unit JBJ Soul Homes will be occupied by low-income tenants and the formerly homeless.

Bon Jovi's Soul Foundation and the Middleton Partnership provided the lead gift for the $16.6 million complex in the Francisville neighborhood. The project also received public funds.

Residents will have access to social services provided by Project HOME, a group dedicated to ending homelessness. The four-story building includes retail and office space.

Bon Jovi is a longtime advocate for affordable housing in Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., and many other cities. The New Jersey native once co-owned the Philadelphia Soul arena football team.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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