Essex County Men Sentenced for Their Roles in Carjacking/Theft Ring

Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy announced that three men were sentenced to state prison today for their roles in a major international carjacking and stolen car trafficking ring that stole high-end cars in New Jersey and New York and shipped them to West Africa.

Each of these defendants was sentenced today by Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim in Union County:

Kurtis Bossie, 24, of Newark, was sentenced to 18 years in state prison, including 8 ½ years of parole ineligibility. He pleaded guilty on Feb. 26 to first-degree charges of conspiracy and carjacking.

Jim J. Bryant Jr., 24, of Newark, was sentenced to 10 years in state prison, including more than five years of parole ineligibility. He also pleaded guilty on Feb. 26 to first-degree charges of conspiracy and carjacking.

Daniel I. Hunt, 38, of East Orange, was sentenced to five years in prison, including 18 months without parole. He pleaded guilty on Dec. 23 to second-degree conspiracy to commit fencing.

The three men were charged in Operation Jacked,” an investigation led by the 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 law enforcement agencies.

Investigators recovered 160 stolen cars worth more than $8 million, primarily at ports in New Jersey and New York. The Division of Criminal Justice indicted 26 defendants on Dec. 18, 2014, on charges including first-degree racketeering. They included three alleged ringleaders, two alleged shippers for the ring, and 21 associates who fenced, carjacked and stole vehicles, or acted as wheel men who moved and hid the luxury vehicles. Four other defendants pleaded guilty before the indictment.

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. In West Africa, the luxury vehicles trafficked by the ring commanded prices in excess of new market value in the U.S.

Individuals filled various roles in the ring, including carjacker, car thief, wheel man, fence, shipper and buyer. Carjackers and thieves, who worked in “theft crews,” would typically be 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 would load the cars into shipping containers, which were taken to ports for transport by ship to West Africa. Of the roughly 160 vehicles recovered, 140 were recovered at ports, including Port Newark, Port Elizabeth and Howland Hook Seaport in Staten Island, N.Y. The ring operated in multiple counties in New Jersey, including Essex, Union, Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, Bergen and Somerset Counties.

Theft crews used various methods to steal cars, including carjackings. They always had a goal of obtaining keys or key fobs. Carjackers would often target victims by bumping their vehicles from behind on the highway. When victims stopped to address the situation, the carjackers would take their key by force or threat, or simply jump into the vehicle and drive off if the key was left inside. Guns or other weapons were used in a number of carjackings. Thefts also occurred at carwashes and at airports, where drivers would leave cars running at terminals to unload luggage. In other cases, members of the ring would obtain cars through fraud, using bad checks to buy cars from new and used car dealerships.

Seven other defendants have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to 12 years as a result of guilty pleas secured in Operation Jacked.