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Capt. Al Della Fave ext. 6514
Lt. Gerald Lewis ext. 6516
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Sgt. Jeanne Hengemuhle ext. 6515

August 01, 2007

Multi-Million Dollar Auto-Theft/Exporting

View Arrest List With Photos [pdf]

West Trenton, N.J. - New Jersey State Police in cooperation with 15 other law enforcement agencies conducted an intense 3 month investigation dubbed Operation “Auto Export.” This investigation led to the serving of 8 arrest warrants targeting individuals involved in the theft and/or exporting of stolen vehicles. During the course of this investigation 72 high-end vehicles estimated at over 2.55 million dollars were identified.

Teams of troopers and officers served arrest warrants on suspects from New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Virginia who have been targeted in this investigation. Charges against them ranged from leader of an auto theft trafficking network, receiving stolen property, fencing and conspiracy.

During the execution of arrest and search warrants today, over ten thousand dollars and three more vehicles were seized. Arrest teams processed subjects at NJSP Totowa Headquarters and once processed the arrestees were transported to Essex County Jail: pending arraignments over the next couple of days.

“With today’s arrests and searches, we delivered a crippling blow to this multi-million dollar auto theft ring,” said Attorney General Milgram. “These were not old-fashioned car thieves, chopping cars for parts. This was big business, with the thieves stealing high-end cars and shipping them overseas. Today’s arrests are the result of outstanding teamwork by members of more than a dozen state, local and federal agencies from inside and outside New Jersey, who worked together seamlessly across state lines under the leadership of the New Jersey State Police.”

“This brazen group of auto thieves and fences would stop at nothing to further this international criminal ring,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes. “They stole rental cars, utilized document fraud and even resorted to armed carjacking to feed their client’s appetite for stolen luxury vehicles.” “There’s no telling into who’s hands these vehicles would have ended up once they were sent to Egypt, Jordan, or other overseas destinations,” Fuentes added.

This intense investigation, starting in April 2007, revealed that groups from New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Virginia, with associations to Florida and Texas were delivering stolen vehicles to the Ports of Newark and Elizabeth to be exported to Greece, Jordan, Egypt, and various entry ports in West Africa.

The vehicles being shipped overseas would sell for substantially higher, almost double, than the manufactures’ market value in the United States. Many of these vehicles were either stolen or overdue rental vehicles, while others were obtained by car-jacking, insurance fraud or identity theft.

The investigation revealed that the identified groups would purchase a portion of the vehicles from an auto theft fencing ring operating out of East Orange, New Jersey. The fencing group, allegedly run by Troy Turner, was responsible for over 30 of the 72 vehicles identified in this investigation.

One example of the thefts conducted by Turner, and his accomplices, would be to enter a long term parking facility in one vehicle and leave with numerous luxury vehicles, and in turn sell them on a first come first serve basis.

This auto theft fencing ring is the largest and most profitable to date to be dismantled.

"This outstanding joint investigation between ICE and the New Jersey State Police brought down a vehicle theft ring that allegedly used violent carjacking, credit card and insurance fraud in order to attempt the illegal export of at least 72 high priced motor vehicles," said Kyle Hutchins, special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Newark. "The arrests and vehicle seizures represent an outstanding example of how ICE can use our authority in customs investigations to benefit the community in tackling complex cross-border criminal enterprises."

“This case is a prime example of the importance of cooperation across multiple jurisdictions. That cooperation must start at the top, and Attorney General Milgram and Superintendent Fuentes led the way in executing a successful collaborative investigation,” said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department Superintendent Samuel J. Plumeri, Jr.

Some of the high-end cars include
Mercedes Acura   Lexus Jeep
Hummer H3 Nissan Maxima GMC Denali Audi
Escalade Mini Cooper Pathfinder BMW
Land Rover Range Rover Chevy Suburban Volkswagen Touareg     
Nissan Murano Cherokee Infinity  

Partnering Agencies in this Investigation

New Jersey State Police Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Maryland State Police   Diplomatic Security Service
NJ/NY Port Authority  Newark Police Department
National Insurance Crime Bureau Woodbridge Police Department
New York Police Department   Social Security Administration
East Orange Police Department Montgomery County Police Department
New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice NJ Department of Corrections
NJ/NY Waterfront Commission US Secret Service


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