By: Yuritza Arroyo
Hudson County authorities announced that the Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) collaboration with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Port of New York/Newark, a total of 23 stolen vehicles were recovered, all of which were destined to Western African countries (Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Monrovia, and Liberia), and had an estimated value of $1,333,425.
According to officials, additionally, 109 rounds of various caliber ammunition were found concealed in a vehicle destined for Nigeria.
“This was an excellent example of the effectiveness of our combined efforts to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations that target our citizens as well as our nation's borders, and hopefully serves as a warning to those exporting stolen vehicles that law enforcement is actively monitoring and taking action to disrupt their criminal enterprise,” said Sheriff Schillari.
“Thank you to the great men and women from my office, as well as Homeland Security and Customs agents, for their hard work and once again proving their dedication to deterring transnational criminal activities.”
"Operation Terminus," a five-day operation that aimed to detect and recover stolen vehicles being shipped out of the United States, began on February 13 and was carried out in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the New Jersey State Police, the New York Police Department (NYPD) Auto Crime Unit, the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) - Criminal Investigation Bureau, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
To combat the flow of stolen vehicles out of the United States and dismantle the transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) profiting from the illicit activity within the United States and abroad, HSI Newark, HCSO, PAPD, and CBP, operating under the HSI Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) model, created an Auto Export Crimes Task Force.
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to stop criminal activity impacting our communities and prevent the flow of profits going to the organizations behind the crimes,” said Ricky J. Patel, Special Agent in Charge for HSI Newark.
“Operation Terminus is an initiative to target stolen vehicles being exported out of the United States and once interdicted, identify and investigate the perpetrators responsible for the criminal networks behind these stolen vehicles, often leading to other crimes being committed and negatively affecting our neighborhoods.”