More than $1 million in goods stolen from national retailers were recovered by New Jersey State Police who smashed a cargo theft ring based out of a popular Passaic warehouse that also operated a smaller facility in Carlstadt, authorities said.
Eleven men were arrested -- seven of them from Passaic County, three from Hudson -- as part of "Operation Botany Strike," state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.
The five-month investigation began after detectives from the NJSP Interstate Theft North Unit found an abandoned tractor-trailer at the Vince Lombardi Service Area in Ridgefield that had been stolen from a lot in South Amboy with $104,000 worth of meat inside.
Investigators followed leads that led them to the old Botany Mills plant on Dayton Avenue in Passaic, in which 200 or so individual businesses now operate.
Members of the traditional organized-crime ring off-loaded the hot merchandise -- which was originally bound for national retailers -- into four locations in the warehouse after stealing the tractor-trailers that were transporting them, authorities said.
The ring was "systematic and prolific in its theft and fencing of valuable cargo,” Grewal said.
State Police recovered 16 loads of stolen cargo -- clothing, granite, home goods, landscaping equipment, and food products -- originally bound for 10 national companies for sale in the U.S. and overseas.
Charges include reeiving stolen property, fencing and conspiracy.
- Ambiorix Canela-Rodriguez, 26, of Paterson;
- Adiel Acevedo-Ortiz, 26, of Paterson;
- Milton Vargas, 48, of Paterson;
- Carlos Alcantara, 60, of Passaic;
- Elvis Valerio, 34, of Passaic;
- Wilfredo Valle, 38, of Passaic;
- Angel DeLeon, 35, of Hawthorne;
- Bassim Fardos, 38, North Bergen;
- Nelson Pena-Restituyo, 51, of Union City;
- Luis Lourido, 50, of Union City;
- Eduardo Ramos, 32, of Union.
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