By: Richard L. Smith
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced today, February 12, that Zachary Lockwood, a 25-year-old resident of Toms River, has pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including possession of a significant amount of heroin with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a weapon, and resisting arrest. The guilty plea was entered before the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, P.J.Cr.P., marking a significant development in a case that stemmed from an investigation conducted between July and August 2023 in Toms River.
In a separate incident unrelated to the narcotics and weapons charges, Lockwood also admitted guilt to eluding police on September 26, 2023, further compounding his legal challenges.
The State is expected to recommend a combined sentence of 10 years in New Jersey State Prison for the narcotics charge, with additional terms for the weapon and eluding charges, all to run concurrently.
Lockwood will receive credit for time served regarding the resisting arrest charge.
The investigation that led to Lockwood's arrest was carried out by the Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement Team. It pinpointed Lockwood as a key figure in the heroin distribution network within Ocean County.
A breakthrough came on August 29, 2023, when detectives, armed with search warrants for Lockwood's home and vehicle, caught him in the act. A subsequent search of his vehicle near a local CVS on Hooper Avenue resulted in the seizure of 215 wax folds of heroin.A more extensive search at his residence uncovered an additional 2,000 wax folds of heroin and a .40 caliber handgun with ammunition.
Lockwood's arrest did not come without a struggle; he actively resisted officers before being taken into custody and transported to the Ocean County Jail.
His release followed shortly, a consequence of New Jersey's Bail Reform.
The situation escalated on September 26, when Lockwood, attempting to evade a traffic stop after running a red light, led police on a high-speed chase.
The pursuit ended with his vehicle immobilized in the middle of the road, leading to his apprehension and subsequent detention at the Ocean County Jail, where he has remained since.
This case highlights the ongoing battle against narcotics distribution and the comprehensive efforts by law enforcement to bring individuals to justice, ensuring the safety and well-being of the community.