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Dozens Charged in Massive International Carjacking Ring

Multi-million dollar criminal enterprise 'put the public in grave danger,' acting attorney general said.

Submitted photo
Submitted photo

By Joseph M. Gerace

Twenty-nine men were charged as part of a major international carjacking and stolen car trafficking ring that swiped luxury vehicles in New Jersey and New York and shipped them to West Africa, where they can sell for prices in excess of new market value in the United States.  

Twenty-three individuals were arrested Thursday as multi-agency teams executed warrants on charges including first-degree racketeering, carjacking and money laundering. Six fugitives are being sought on warrants, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said in a release.

“Carjackers are driven to steal and even to murder by the demand that exists for luxury stolen vehicles,” Hoffman said. “This ring we took down was a double threat.  Its members committed carjackings that put the public in grave danger, while at the same time, through their fencing and shipping operations, they created demand that motivated others to commit carjackings.  We hit them hard from both ends, completely dismantling their operations.”

Approximately 160 stolen cars worth more than $8 million were recovered in “Operation Jacked,” a 10-month investigation led by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police, assisted by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Police, ICE Homeland Security Investigations and 12 other agencies.  Approximately 140 of the cars were recovered at ports in New Jersey and New York where members of the ring delivered them for shipment.

The ring targeted high-end vehicles—particularly luxury SUVs—made by Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Honda, Porsche, Jaguar and Aston Martin. Twenty-seven of the recovered vehicles had been taken in carjackings, a majority of which involved a gun or other weapon, while the others were stolen from various locations where the thieves were able to steal them with one or more of their electronic keys or key fobs, which are critical to the resale value of the cars.  

Authorities charged seven as leaders of the criminal enterprise.  Within the ring, individuals filled various roles, including carjacker, car thief, wheel man, fence, shipper and buyer.  Carjackers and thieves, who worked in “theft crews,” were typically paid $4,000 to $8,000 for a stolen car by street-level fences, who sold cars up the chain to higher-level fences.  Shippers loaded the cars into shipping containers, which were taken to ports for transport by ship to West Africa, according to Hoffman.

“The more we learn about the sophisticated pipeline between the supply and demand for stolen luxury cars, the better we can choke off that route and disrupt the flow,” said Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “The scope of those arrested and charged shows just how organized this dangerous criminal enterprise had become.”

Of the roughly 160 vehicles recovered, 140 were found at ports, including Port Newark, Port Elizabeth and Howland Hook Seaport in Staten Island, N.Y.  Investigators believe additional vehicles were being moved by this criminal enterprise, beyond those recovered in the investigation.  The ring operated in multiple counties in New Jersey, including Essex, Union, Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex and Bergen.

The investigation revealed a number of individuals exercised leadership roles in the criminal enterprise, and certain defendants associated more closely with particular leaders or individuals within the larger enterprise, according to officials. 

Seven men were charged as leaders of the enterprise. They were charged with the second-degree crime of leader of an auto theft trafficking network, as well as first-degree racketeering, first-degree money laundering and second-degree fencing. The following seven alleged leaders have been arrested.  They also allegedly assumed other roles ranging from car thief to high-level fence.

  1. Leon Nii-Moi, 35, of Roselle;
  2. Kyle Champagnie, 27, of Irvington;
  3. Saladine Grant, 39, of Irvington;
  4. James Hemphill, 41, of Belleville;
  5. Omar Smith, 39, of Newark;
  6. Demarco Sparks, 40, of Newark; and
  7. Deandre Stevenson, 41, of Newark.

Three men were charged with first-degree carjacking.  They also were charged with first-degree racketeering, second-degree fencing and second-degree receiving stolen property. The following two were arrested, and the third is being sought as a fugitive. His name is being withheld.

  1. Yves Augustin, 24, of Rahway;
  2. Kurtis Bossie, 22, of Newark.

The following three men were charged as shippers. They were charged with first-degree racketeering, second-degree fencing, and either first-degree money laundering or second-degree receiving stolen property. Oduro and Nasidi were arrested. Marfo remains a fugitive.

  1. Standford Oduro, 61, of Bloomfield
  2. Kojo Marfo, 47, of Newark; and
  3. Ahmad Nasidi, 33, of Newark.

The remaining defendants were variously charged with racketeering (first degree), conspiracy (second degree), money laundering (first degree), receiving stolen property (second and third degree), and fencing (second and third degree).

The following four men were charged who allegedly acted as high-level fences.

  1. Terrell Savage, 44, of Newark;
  2. Ibn Traynham, 37, of Newark;
  3. Daniel Hunt, 36, of East Orange; and
  4. Steve McGraw, 34, of Newark.

Four men were charged who allegedly acted as street-level fences. The following two alleged street-level fences were arrested. The other two are being sought as fugitives and their names are being withheld.

  1. Abdur Abdullah, 32, Tuckerton; and
  2. Kyle Botts, 33, of Newark.

Eight other men were charged who allegedly acted as carjackers, car thieves and/or wheel men. Of those eight men, the following six defendants were arrested.  The other two are being sought as fugitives and their names are being withheld.

  1. Malik Baker, 20, of Vauxhall;
  2. Nathaniel Barnes, 31, of Irvington;
  3. Kevin Burton, 34, of Newark;
  4. Abdul Dailey III, 33, of Montclair;
  5. Johnnie Davila, 26, of Newark;
  6. Terrell Waller, 25, of Newark; and

First-degree racketeering and first-degree money laundering carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison, with a period of parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent of the sentence imposed, and a fine of up to $200,000.  

First-degree money laundering carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison, including a period of parole ineligibility equal to one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, with the sentence to run consecutively to sentences for any other charges, and a fine of up to $500,000.  

Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

The individuals who were arrested were processed and lodged in jail with bails ranging from $100,000 to $1 million.

Trending on Patch is a category showcasing popular stories from across Patch's network of 900 local news sites.

James Jones February 28, 2014 at 12:44 PM
If we as a nation got out of this global trade hoax that is draining the very life out us. we could and should manage our borders, inspecting all that comes and goes .putting US first and manufacturing within our borders perhaps we could break the downward cycle of ruin
Tom Koz February 28, 2014 at 01:09 PM
if obama had a son ........
Bill Storm, February 28, 2014 at 01:27 PM
Blacks are always complaining they get picked on by law enforcement for no reason. Question: How many white boys do you see in the above picture? 75% of prison inmates are people of color. When is Sharpton & Jackson going to clean up their house instead of putting blame on a white society.
Ming Lee February 28, 2014 at 01:58 PM
my Honda Civic is at Red's Towing in Glenview, and m yFord Contour is at Northshore Towing. Both were strange circumstances, nonetheless the cars were basically just handed over to them. smh.
Ming Lee February 28, 2014 at 02:02 PM
Think I could have my cars bacK Then my SRO insurance lapsed while my car stranded on the road in Wilmette. I now oew over 3000dollars for a suspended license of a car that was handed to a tow yard. Crude situation. Well yes BP Rifinery never fixed or paid for my car when I purchased bad gas. But i an't complain. I might get mobbed if i do. Signed, Melanie Lewis aka Ming Lee
Ming Lee February 28, 2014 at 02:03 PM
But it did feel good to talk about it. Thanks Patch for sharing.
Fran Boyle February 28, 2014 at 02:24 PM
Wondering why this is on Warminster PAtch
santee citizen February 28, 2014 at 03:45 PM
because this is the new patch they pick articles from all over the US and post them for everyone to see. less editors means less local coverage. our local editor was fired... about the only thing patch is good for now is for people to start blogs and complain about how bad life is!!!!
RICHARD BONNET February 28, 2014 at 04:08 PM
How about the carjackers who killed the person at the Short Hills Mall? are they involved?
JJ Mclure February 28, 2014 at 04:39 PM
as usual someone named Ahmed involved
JJ Mclure February 28, 2014 at 04:40 PM
I don't see anyone with blonde hair and blue eyes
Sca D Villa Tina February 28, 2014 at 07:35 PM
All African Americans? Now they tell non Africans that folks descriminate and are BIAS? There is something wrong with this.. Everyone on the list is African? Scarey.. All from Union County.. Yikes
Scott Wilson February 28, 2014 at 09:32 PM
TOO COOL.....GLAD I DRIVE A PLASTIC HYUNDAI.......NO ONE WOULD WANT IT I`M SURE..................................................
frank Lazzaro February 28, 2014 at 09:58 PM
I am so glad I rent when I need a car, the Enterprise Club, otherwise it's all public transportation with me. Don't have to worry about carjackers stealing. We live in very evil times.
Daniella Ruiz March 01, 2014 at 05:29 AM
awwww, these 'entrepeneurs' were actually helping balance the import/export imbalance. we import so much and our trade deficit is terribly lopsided and the various port authorities and Homeland Security folks just can't understand how it happens! we might as well load up these shipping containers with Bitcoins, and give them away.
American Citizen March 01, 2014 at 09:40 AM
Lincoln freed them King gave them a dream Obama gave them money what more can I say they are fine upstanding citizens what do you expect when you give give How about earning it!!!!!
JJ Mclure March 01, 2014 at 10:06 AM
Now we're gonna hear the jails are overcrowded and they have to be let go.
jack hess March 01, 2014 at 12:38 PM
They were all Honor Roll Students! They were turning there lives around! They all voted for OBAMA! The Liberals say let them go they are misunderstood. Maybe after they get out of prison they could run on the Democratic ticket in Crook County, Il.
Marisol March 01, 2014 at 12:58 PM
@Bill Storm, you see as many whites in the photo as you see blacks murdering innocent school children, or shooting up theaters and malls.
WINEGUY51 March 01, 2014 at 01:25 PM
Approximately 160 stolen cars worth more than $8 million ' ok..so..when are they arresting the bankers who laundered all that money!!???
WINEGUY51 March 01, 2014 at 01:28 PM
The ring targeted high-end vehicles—particularly luxury SUVs—made by Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Honda, Porsche, Jaguar and Aston Martin. " so..they only stole cars they new rich people would buy..only they could afford them!..why is that NOT SHOCKING....!!!
Davie March 01, 2014 at 03:38 PM
It is because of people like these 23 thugs that a person could be shot in their head while getting into their car at a mall, let's see what kind of jail sentence is meted out to them.
Burt March 01, 2014 at 04:57 PM
This what we get under the guise of diversity and globalism. We let in 1 million immigrants every year plus millions more illegals and they rob us soon they will be killing us then it will be too late !!!!!
Burt March 01, 2014 at 05:02 PM
This is a good example of all the new jobs being created. Hyjack cars then send them to West Africa...and they are way above min wage !!!
mm3264 March 01, 2014 at 05:46 PM
Tom Koz February 28, 2014 at 01:09 PM if obama had a son ........ He'd be 100xs better than anything you could produce Tom.
Steve Marino March 02, 2014 at 08:23 AM
This is just a short list of people the Obama administration is trying to rush into this country thru "blanket amnesty"! After all, we know which party they will vote for.
Social issues in Morristown Blog March 02, 2014 at 09:04 AM
http://socialissuesinmotown.blogspot.com/ please visit our blog
Sal Anthony March 02, 2014 at 07:11 PM
They are all aspiring rappers who were gonna go to college.
ernesto March 02, 2014 at 09:51 PM
Do all you people sleep at night or do u dream of Obama Obama Obama

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