A New Jersey correctional police officer who was accused of hiding his membership in two outlaw motorcycle gangs also hid a pair of business interests, an indictment returned Wednesday by a state grand jury alleges.
Ruben Morales, 42, not only lied about being in the “Thug Riders” and “Thunderguards” when he applied to renew his state-issued identification card last year, the indictment says.
Morales, who worked at the state prison in Newark, also “was involved in owning and operating two business ventures that he failed to disclose, a food truck business and a kennel business,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said Tuesday.
The state-issued ID card “identifies him as a law enforcement officer, grants him access to state buildings, and marks him as an emergency responder,” Grewal said.
The renewal process every three years requires “the completion, certification, and submission of an application that answers several questions related to the suitability of the employee to maintain employment,” the attorney general added.
Morales – also known as “Moe,” “Moe Cap” and “Capo” — lied when asked on the form whether he was affiliated with or a member of any subversive groups or gangs, he said.
In doing so, Grewal said, Morales “violated his oath and his duties as a corrections officer.”
“Absolutely no law enforcement officer should be a member of a subversive group or gang,” the attorney general said. “With correctional police officers, there is a special concern related to the destabilizing and dangerous impact that gang activity and gang rivalries have in prison.”
Authorities charged Morales with tampering with public records following a joint investigation by the New Jersey Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division and Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).
The Department of Corrections also suspended him from his job at Northern State Prison — across from Newark Airport — pending the outcome of the case.
Grewal’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) obtained a grand jury indictment Wednesday charging Morales with:
- official misconduct;
- tampering with public records;
- hindering apprehension or prosecution;
- falsifying or tampering with records.
The indictment followed an investigation by the OPIA and New Jersey Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division.
“There simply is no room in law enforcement for officers who break the rules, evade their duties, and lie about it,” OPIA Director Thomas Eicher said.
Deputy Attorney General Colin Keiffer is prosecuting the case for the state.
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