The New Jersey State Police have arrested 11 men in connection with the dismantling of a cargo theft trafficking ring, and recovered more than $1 million worth of merchandise.
The five-month investigation dubbed “Operation Botany Strike,” began last October, when detectives from the New Jersey State Police Interstate Theft North Unit began investigating the theft of a tractor-trailer, from a trucking lot in South Amboy, N.J. The trailer contained more than $104,000 worth of meat.
Troopers located the abandoned tractor-trailer later that day at the Vince Lombardi Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike and began following leads, which ultimately uncovered the organized theft ring, according to a news release from the state police. Investigators were able to recover 16 stolen loads worth more than $1 million, including clothing, granite, home goods, landscaping equipment, and food products and was destined to be sold domestically and overseas.
The suspects who were arrested and charged:
- Ambiorix Canela-Rodriguez, 26, of Paterson, N.J. – receiving stolen property, fencing and conspiracy
- Adiel Acevedo-Ortiz, 26, of Paterson, N.J. – receiving stolen property and conspiracy
- Carlos Alcantara, 60, of Passaic, N.J. – receiving stolen property and conspiracy
- Bassim Fardos, 38, North Bergen, N.J. – receiving stolen property and conspiracy
- Elvis Valerio, 34, of Passaic, N.J. . – receiving stolen property and conspiracy
- Wilfredo Valle, 38, of Passaic, N.J. – receiving stolen property and conspiracy
- Milton Vargas, 48, of Paterson, N.J. – receiving stolen property and conspiracy
- Nelson Pena-Restituyo, 51, of Union City, N.J. – receiving stolen property and conspiracy
- Luis Lourido, 50, of Union City, N.J. – receiving stolen property and conspiracy
- Eduardo Ramos, 32, of Union, N.J. – receiving stolen property and conspiracy
- Angel DeLeon, 35, of Hawthorne, N.J. – receiving stolen property and conspiracy
More arrests are likely, according to Lt. Dan Bergin, head of the state police’s interstate theft north unit.
“This was a sophisticated crew that knew what they were doing. They knew where the weak points were They knew how to exploit the system,” Bergin said in a phone interview with Land Line Now. “And they maneuvered about in a way where they were able to successfully steal this cargo.”
Investigators allege that members of the theft ring would transport stolen tractor-trailers from various jurisdictions throughout the state to specific locations within a business facility at 90 Dayton Avenue in Passaic, N.J. That facility served as the predominant location where members would load and offload stolen cargo as well as store the stolen tractor-trailers, the news release stated. Detectives also identified secondary locations in Little Ferry and Secaucus, N.J., which served a similar function.
The case will be prosecuted by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.
Land Line Now’s Mary McKenna contributed to this report.
Copyright © OOIDA