Trenton murder victim was arrested this year for money laundering
A Florida man who was arrested on charges related to money laundering earlier this year, was shot and killed while sitting in a car directly across the street from a city hospital Wednesday night.
Daren Joseph, 29, from Lauderhill, Florida, was found lying in the street next to a dark-colored Acura around 9:35 p.m. in the 100 block of Miller Street, a section of the city that doesn’t experience much violence, located directly across the street from Capital Health Regional Medical Center.
“We don’t see too much criminal activity in this area,” a cop at the scene said Wednesday night. “It’s kinda surprising.”
Adding mystery to the surprise, the Acura — which had New York license plates — was still idling and partially parked on the sidewalk parallel to a fence, leading detectives to believe the victim was driving the car at the time he was shot. Cops presume Joseph placed the car in park after it jumped the curb, then crawled out of the car to escape the attack.
Police say several shell casings were found inside the car, implying the suspect was in the Acura with the victim when the shooting began.
Joseph was shot numerous times, including once in the head.
As of now, police do not have a suspected motive for the killing, and detectives say Joseph’s connection to Trenton is not immediately clear.
However, Joseph was arrested in Fort Lee by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office on March 16. Prosecutors say Joseph’s arrest was the result of an investigation regarding money laundering.
When cops stopped Joseph in Bergen, he allowed them to search his car, where police found $41,509 behind a secret liner of a suitcase. Joseph was charged with transporting or possessing property believed to be derived from criminal activity, which is a third-degree crime. Joseph was later released on his own recognizance.
Records show Joseph submitted an application on May 9 to enter the Pretrial Intervention (PTI) program. It appears a decision was not made prior to his death. Court records show Joseph was scheduled to have a pre-indictment conference on June 6, but it appears the event was withdrawn.
Joseph’s death marks the second murder this month in the capital city.
So far this year, the city has experienced 10 homicides, which includes the hit-and-run death of Lea Pringle.
Seven people have died by gunfire this year, and two people were stabbed to death.
Anyone with information about Wednesday’s killing is urged to contact the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406 or the Trenton Crime Stoppers tip line at (609) 278-8477.
Trentonian staff writer Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman contributed to this report.