According to authorities, an Essex County, New Jersey man admitted to running an international car theft ring in which luxury vehicles were stolen and then shipped to West Africa for sale on the black market.
The 30-year-old man pleaded guilty to a first-degree charge of financial facilitation of criminal activity.
According to the Attorney General, the man was at the head of the car theft ring which has been under investigation since 2014.
High end vehicles, such as Mercedes-Benz, Land Rovers, and Aston Martins, were targeted because of their value on the black market. Once a theft occurred, the vehicles would be placed in shipping containers at ports in New Jersey and New York. From there, they would make their way to West Africa, a country where the vehicles could be sold for more money.
The investigation recovered approximately 160 vehicles with a value in excess of $8 million.
Despite the fact that the one man was in charge, it is believed that roughly 30 others were involved.
Due to the plea deal, prosecutors are recommending that the man serve 16 years in prison. Furthermore, eight of these years would be ineligible for parole. For now, it's a waiting game, with sentencing not scheduled until April 21.
It's easy for somebody to get caught up in a crime, especially if they don't realize the impact it can have on their life. If you find yourself in this position, it's important to learn more about your legal rights and the potential consequences associated with your crime should you be convicted.
Source: NJ.com, "'Ringleader' pleads guilty in N.J. luxury carjacking ring," S.P. Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2017