Three North Bergen and two Union City men are among seven that received prison sentences for their roles in a $1.5 million cargo theft scheme, Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
A total of 12 men were charged in a June 4, 2015 indictment stemming from Operation Midnight Run, a long-term investigation by the New Jersey State Police Interstate Theft North Unit, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Border Enforcement Security Task Force. Nine defendants have pleaded guilty to date.
Each of these men was sentenced Friday by Bergen County Superior Court Judge James J. Guida:
Yoanny Justiz, 33, of North Bergen, was sentenced to nine years in state prison. He pleaded guilty on Feb. 29 to second-degree conspiracy.
Luis Marin, 47, of Union City, was sentenced to nine years in state prison. He pleaded guilty on Feb. 29 to second-degree receiving stolen property.
Horacio Llerena-Martinez, 55, of North Bergen, was sentenced to eight years in state prison. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 30 to second-degree conspiracy.
Angel Dominguez, 44, of Union City, was sentenced to seven years in state prison. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 30 to second-degree theft.
Pedro Arias, 68, of Elizabeth, was sentenced to five years in state prison. He pleaded guilty on Jan. 25 to second-degree theft.
Kenneth Manus, 61, of Norwood, was sentenced to 180 days in the county jail as a condition of three years of probation. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 30 to third-degree receiving stolen property.
Hector Rivas, 38, of Union City, was sentenced to 270 days in the county jail as a condition of three years of probation. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 30 to third-degree receiving stolen property.
The members of the cargo theft ring worked together in various combinations to steal tractor-trailers containing cargo from the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, authorities said.
They brought the stolen cargo to warehouses and lots in New Jersey, Brooklyn, N.Y., and the Bronx, N.Y. Between June 2012 and April 2015, ring members engaged in nine thefts and two purchases of additional stolen goods in which the total value of the cargo and tractor-trailers stolen exceeded $1.5 million, officials said.
The stolen cargo included $120,000 worth of catalytic converters stolen in Linden and recovered at a warehouse in Saddle Brook, $190,000 worth of Moroccanoil hair and body products stolen in Allentown, Pa. and transported through New Jersey to a lot in Bronx, N.Y. and $152,000 worth of GNC fish oil capsules stolen in Paterson and recovered at a furniture store in Hillside, according to the AG’s Office.
“These thieves stole whatever cargo proved to be an easy mark, driving off with tractor-trailers loaded with everything from beer, to mozzarella cheese, to auto parts,” Lougy said in a statement.
“Their crime spree was a real road show, but our prosecutors joined with the New Jersey State Police and U.S. Department of Homeland Security to track them across three states and bring them to justice.”
Two other defendants have pleaded guilty in the case.
Wilson Ferrer-Reyes, 51, of Union City, pleaded guilty on Jan. 4 to third-degree receiving stolen property and was sentenced on April 22 to 364 days in the county jail as a condition of three years of probation.
Carlos Toriac-Almira, 36, also of Union City, pleaded guilty on Jan. 25 to fourth-degree receiving stolen property and faces a recommended sentence of 18 months in state prison. He is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 9.
One of the indicted defendants was admitted by the court into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program.
The indictment is pending against the two remaining defendants, Osmay Perez-Herrera, 51, of New York, N.Y., and Luis Requena, 24, who was deported after his arrest in 2013.
They face first-degree charges of conspiracy and money laundering, as well as second-degree charges of theft, fencing and receiving stolen property.