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More than $1 Million in Stolen Cargo Recovered
11 Men Arrested for Operating Cargo Theft Ring in “Operation Botany Strike”

March 15, 2018

The New Jersey State Police and their law enforcement partners have arrested 11 men, dismantled a cargo theft trafficking ring, and recovered more than $1 million worth of merchandise, which was destined to supply nearly a dozen national retail stores in New Jersey and across the country.

The five-month investigation dubbed “Operation Botany Strike,” began on October 14, 2017 when detectives from the NJSP Interstate Theft North Unit Task Force began investigating the theft of a tractor-trailer, which contained $104,000 worth of meat, from a trucking lot in South Amboy, N.J. 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.

Through various investigative means, detectives determined 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. Detectives also identified secondary locations in Little Ferry and Secaucus, N.J., which served a similar function.

As a result of the operation, 16 loads of stolen cargo were recovered from 10 national victim companies. The seized cargo, which was worth more than $1 million, included clothing, granite, home goods, landscaping equipment, and food products and was destined to be sold domestically and overseas.

“I commend the State Police and their partners for dismantling this criminal ring, which allegedly was systematic and prolific in its theft and fencing of valuable cargo,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “We’ll continue to target this traditional form of organized crime, which disrupts commerce, inflicts big losses, and often finances other crimes.”

“The suspects operating within this theft ring stole anything they could get their hands on, driving stolen tractor-trailers filled with everything from clothing, granite and food products to predestined facilities where they would store and offload the stolen cargo, eventually selling it both domestically and overseas,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This operation alone, headed by the State Police Interstate Theft North Unit along with our partners, recovered more than $1 million of stolen cargo and dismantled a lucrative crime syndicate, which was costing victim businesses and consumers millions more.”

Detectives from the New Jersey State Police Interstate Theft North Unit led the operation with assistance from the following agencies:

New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice
Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor Police Division
United States Department of Agriculture
South Amboy Police Department
Lakewood Police Department
South Brunswick Police Department
Newark Police Department
Carlstadt Police Department Kearny Police Department Edison Police Department Woodbridge Police Department

The following were arrested and charged:

Ambiorix Canela-Rodriguez, 26, of Paterson, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Fencing
Conspiracy

Adiel Acevedo-Ortiz, 26, of Paterson, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Conspiracy

Carlos Alcantara, 60, of Passaic, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Conspiracy

Bassim Fardos, 38, North Bergen, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Conspiracy

Elvis Valerio, 34, of Passaic, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Conspiracy

Wilfredo Valle, 38, of Passaic, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Conspiracy

Milton Vargas, 48, of Paterson, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Conspiracy

Nelson Pena-Restituyo, 51, of Union City, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Conspiracy

Luis Lourido, 50, of Union City, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Conspiracy

Eduardo Ramos, 32, of Union, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Conspiracy

Angel DeLeon, 35, of Hawthorne, N.J.
Receiving stolen property
Conspiracy

This Case will be prosecuted by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.

Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor