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Essex County Men Among Nine Charged in Nearly Million Dollar Car Theft Overseas Shipping Ring

By rlsmetro on
New Jersey

The New Jersey State Police and Division of Criminal Justice have charged nine suspects who were allegedly targeting high-end vehicles in New Jersey and New York that were to be shipped and sold overseas as a result of an 11-month investigation, which linked suspects to 22 stolen vehicles valued at more than $966,000 and resulted in the seizure of more than $133,000 worth of drugs. 

Officials said in a statement, in February of 2020, the New Jersey State Police Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit, which is comprised of State Police detectives and members of the Paramus Police Department, Morris Township Police Department, Warren Township Police Department, Bernards Township Police Department, River Vale Police Department, Montville Police Department, Newark Police Department, and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, began assisting the Edgewater Police Department with the investigation of a Range Rover that was stolen in Edgewater Borough, Bergen County. During the investigation, detectives located the vehicle in West Orange Township, Essex County and linked the theft to Mr. Francis Mensah, 56, of Newark, N.J., Mr. Rosevensk Bien-Aime, 30, of Maplewood, N.J., and Mr. Stephen Atuahene, 31, of Hillside, N.J. 

Officials said as a result of the on-going investigation, detectives discovered that Mensah, Bien-Aime, and Atuahene were targeting high-end vehicles in New York and New Jersey that would eventually be shipped and sold overseas.  

According to the press release, detectives  also linked Mr. Najai Diggs, 35, of Newark, Mr. Abdul Farl, 42, of Orange, Mr. Richard Afrifa, 34, of East Orange, Mr. Sheriff Kamarudeen, 22, of Winchester, OH, and Mr. Muhammad Mustapha, 50, of Silver Spring, MD to the operation. 

Through various investigative means, detectives discovered that the suspects were renting a lot at a shipping warehouse on Frelinghuysen Avenue in Newark,  to store stolen vehicles prior to shipping.    

The vehicles would then be loaded into shipping containers and taken to area ports. With assistance from the United States Customs and Border Protection, detectives intercepted and searched several of the shipping containers at the ports, which led to the recovery of numerous stolen vehicles. 

Officials said on August 12, 2020, detectives determined that Kamarudeen was operating a stolen 2019 Land Rover Range Rover in Raritan Township, Somerset Borough where he was located and arrested during a motor vehicle stop. He was charged with receiving stolen property.

According to police, on January 13, 2021, detectives from the Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit and Fugitive Unit along with members of the United States Marshals Service NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force located and arrested Rosevensky Bien-Aime at a residence on Freiner Place in Irvington, Essex County.  

During the arrest, detectives discovered that Bien-Aime was in possession of heroin. A short time later, detectives obtained and executed a search warrant at the residence.

As a result, detectives seized more than 6,000 tablets of oxycodone hydrochloride, more than 87 bricks of heroin, a large capacity magazine, hollow point ammunition, and more than $18,120 cash.

A second occupant of the residence, Ms. Stacey James, 28, of Irvington, N.J. was also arrested.

The following were charged:

Rosevensky Bien-Aime was charged with the following:

• 2nd Degree Receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Fencing • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit fencing • 2nd Degree Possession of CDS with intent to distribute • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to possess CDS with intent to distribute • 3rd Degree Possession of CDS within 1000 feet of a school zone • 3rd Degree Possession of CDS • 3rd Degree Money laundering • 4th Degree Possession of hollow point ammunition • 4th Degree Possession of a large capacity magazine

Stacey James was charged with the following:

• 2nd Degree Possession of CDS with intent to distribute • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to possess CDS with intent to distribute • 3rd Degree Possession of CDS within 1000 feet of a school zone • 3rd Degree Possession of CDS • 3rd Degree Money laundering • 4th Degree Possession of hollow point ammunition • 4th Degree Possession of a large capacity magazine

On December 10, 2020, Najai Diggs pleaded guilty to 3rd Degree Conspiracy to Fence Stolen Property, with a recommended sentence of 5 years in New Jersey State Prison. His sentencing is scheduled for January 28, 2021.

Francis Mensah was arrested at his residence on October 8, 2020 and charged with the following:

• 2nd Degree Receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Fencing • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit fencing

Stephen Atuahene was arrested at his residence on October 15, 2020 and charged with the following:

• 2nd Degree Receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Fencing • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit fencing

On November 12, 2020, Abdul Farl charged with the following: 

• 2nd Degree Receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Fencing • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit fencing

On December 18, 2020, Muhammad Mustapha was charged with the following: 

• 3rd Degree Receiving stolen property • 3rd Degree Fencing • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit fencing

Richard Afrifa was arrested at his residence on January 5, 2020 and charged with the following:

• 2nd Degree Receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Fencing • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property • 2nd Degree Conspiracy to commit fencing

The case is being prosecuted by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.