An Egg Harbor Township man and former Pagans motorcycle gang leader is in jail following charges of witness tampering and invasion of privacy in the upcoming April Kauffman murder trial, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said Tuesday.

John “Egyptian” Kachbalian, 55, of the Bargaintown section, was arrested Thursday by Egg Harbor Township police and the prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit at his home. In addition to witness tampering and invasion of privacy, Kachbalian was charged with cyber harassment, Tyner said in a press release.

According to the complaint against Kachbalian, the charges are related to several recent Facebook posts.

Recently, a Facebook account for Kachbalian has posted information about the trial of Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello, 62, of Upper Township, Cape May County. Augello is charged with the 2012 murder of veterans advocate April Kauffman, 47, and attempted murder of her husband, Dr. James Kauffman, 68, of Linwood. James Kauffman was also charged in his wife’s murder but died in an apparent suicide while in custody in Hudson County in January.

Posts on Kachbalian’s account have called every co-defendant in the case who took a plea agreement “rats.” One of the posts was of a sexually explicit photo purported to be of co-defendant Beverly Augello, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess drugs in the case.

The complaint related to the arrest mentions specifically threatening communications that were intended to have witnesses withhold testimony or testify falsely. It states that the photograph was posted “with the intent to invoke fear of retaliation” and to “emotionally harm or place her in fear of physical or emotional harm to her person.”

“Witnesses are integral to prosecuting cases and bringing criminals to justice. Anyone who attempts to threaten, intimidate, or otherwise interfere with witnesses to crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” a statement issued by Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said.

This isn’t the first time Kachbalian’s name has been linked to the defendants in the case. He was named in a search warrant related to the April Kauffman murder investigation as an associate of some of the individuals charged in the case.

Kachbalian previously served time in federal prison in the 1980s on federal drug and racketeering charges in the same case that saw former Linwood Councilman and Pagans member Ken “Shadow” Weaver testify against his fellow gang members.

Contact: 609-272-7251 CLowe@pressofac.com Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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