ARREST IN ILLEGAL POSSESSION/SALE OF FIREARMS INVESTIGATION
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Stafford Township Police Chief Joseph Giberson announced today the arrest of Dennis Ayala, 56, of Manahawkin, NJ. Ayala was arrested and charged with Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, Unlawful Possession/Sale of a Firearm, and Pawnbroker Selling Firearms. The Honorable Superior Court Judge Patricia Roe, J.S.C. set bail at $150,000 no ten percent.
Detectives from the Stafford Township Police Department along with members of the Prosecutor’s Special Operations Group, Southern Enforcement Unit conducted a seven month cooperative multi agency undercover investigation into the illegal sale of firearms as well as illegal fencing of stolen property from a pawn shop known as Shore Discount Bedding/Shore Gold and Pawn located at 440 East Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ. The investigation, which involved the illegal sale of a firearm as well as numerous undocumented pawn transactions, led the partnering agencies to the home of Dennis Ayala, 433 Mermaid Avenue in Manahawkin. Detectives previously identified Mr. Ayala as the owner and operator of Shore Gold and Pawn.
During the early morning hours of Wednesday July 22, 2015, Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Southern Enforcement Unit, along with members of the Stafford Township Police Department located Mr. Ayala while operating a black 2010 Ford Expedition in the Ocean Acres section of Stafford Township. A motor vehicle stop was conducted on the Expedition and Mr. Ayala was placed under arrest on the above weapons charges. Detectives executed search warrants on the Expedition, Ayala’s Mermaid Avenue residence, and Shore Discount Furniture & Bedding/Shore Gold & Pawn at 440 East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin. As a result of the investigation and the execution of the search warrants, police seized quantities of anabolic steroids, three handguns – specifically a .38 caliber revolver, which was found to be stolen, two semi-automatic 9mm handguns along with assorted handgun ammunition. Police also seized approximately $5000 in suspected illegal proceeds. During the course of the investigation the 2010 black Ford Expedition which was identified as being used to facilitate the illegal activities of Mr. Ayala was seized pending forfeiture actions.
The investigation is continuing and additional arrests and charges are expected. The lead investigator is Det. Stephen Fessler of the Stafford Township Police Department. Anyone with information concerning illegal activities at Shore Discount Furniture and Bedding/Shore Gold and Pawn are asked to call Det. Fessler at 609-597-1189 Ext. 8447.
The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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