Jail sentences continue to stack up from ‘Operation 17 Corridor’

TRENTON, NJ — Attorney Gen. Christopher S. Porrino announced that an Essex County man was sentenced to state prison Sept. 22 in connection with 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.

A total of 17 men have pleaded guilty and face prison in “Operation 17 Corridor,” a joint investigation led by the Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police, with assistance from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Police, ICE Homeland Security Investigations and numerous other agencies. Most of the defendants were arrested on Oct. 27, 2015, when the partnering agencies broke up the theft ring. Ninety stolen cars worth more than $4 million were recovered in the investigation.

Terrence Wilson, 41, of Newark, N.J., was sentenced Sept. 22 to five years in state prison, including 30 months of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Taylor in Morris County. He pleaded guilty last year to a second-degree conspiracy charge, admitting he was a member of the stolen car trafficking ring. Of the 17 men who have pleaded guilty in Operation 17 Corridor, including Wilson, 13 were indicted in April 2016 and four pleaded guilty pre-indictment. All 17 have either been sentenced or face sentences ranging from 14 years in prison to five years in prison. Charges are pending against five defendants charged in the indictment, including the two alleged leaders of the ring.

Having previously pleaded guilty as a result of Operation 17 Corridor are: Derrick Moore, 37, of Newark, pleaded guilty to first-degree racketeering April 19 and faces a recommended sentence of 14 years in prison, including nearly 12 years of parole ineligibility; he awaits sentencing. Rashawn Gartrell, 38, of Irvington pleaded guilty to first-degree money laundering and was sentenced Nov. 4, 2016, to 12 years in prison, including five years of parole ineligibility. Nasir Turner, 37, of Newark pleaded guilty to first-degree racketeering March 1, 2016, and faces a recommended sentence of 11 years in state prison, including more than nine years of parole ineligibility; he awaits sentencing. Donnell Carroll, 30, of East Orange pleaded guilty to first-degree racketeering and was sentenced Jan. 27 to 10 years in state prison, including 8.5 years of parole ineligibility. Eddie Craig, 37, of Beverly pleaded guilty Feb. 11, 2016, to first-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of nine years in prison, including more than 7.5 years of parole ineligibility; he awaits sentencing. Levell Burnett, 40, of East Orange pleaded guilty May 1 to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of nine years in prison, including four years of parole ineligibility; he awaits sentencing. Frazier Gibson, 31, of Montclair pleaded guilty May 3 to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of seven years in prison, including 3.5 years of parole ineligibility; he awaits sentencing. Khalil Culbreath, 39, of Newark pleaded guilty Oct. 27, 2016, to second-degree receiving stolen property and faces a recommended sentence of seven years in prison, including three years of parole ineligibility; he awaits sentencing. Julian Atta-Poku, 35, of Queens Village, N.Y., pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy and was sentenced Sept. 30, 2016, to seven years in prison. Manuel Olivares, 46, of Jersey City pleaded guilty Jan. 6, 2016, to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of seven years in prison; he awaits sentencing. Damion Mikell, 34, of East Orange pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering and was sentenced Nov. 18, 2016 to six years in prison, including two years of parole ineligibility. Alterique Jones, 42, of Maplewood pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering and was sentenced Aug. 5, 2016, to six years in prison, including two years of parole ineligibility. Marquis Price, 33, of Newark pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering and was sentenced June 9 to six years in prison. Panel Dalce, 44, of South Orange pleaded guilty Dec. 22, 2015, to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of six years in prison; he is awaiting sentencing. Adama Fofana, 55, of Teaneck pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering July 26, 2016, and faces a recommended sentence of five years in prison; he awaits sentencing. Alpha Jalloh, 28, of Brooklyn pleaded guilty May 24, 2016 to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of five years in prison; he awaits sentencing.

“We made our communities safer through Operation 17 Corridor by arresting carjackers and completely dismantling a criminal organization that was providing a lucrative market for luxury stolen vehicles,” Porrino said in the release. “We are sending these ring members to prison, where they can no longer threaten residents with this dangerous type of street-level crime.”

“This carjacking ring was sophisticated, but we demonstrated in Operation 17 Corridor that we are staying one step ahead of these criminals with our technology and investigative techniques,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig said. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners at all levels to target carjackers and stolen-car traffickers.”

The ring that was dismantled in Operation 17 Corridor operated based on demand for specific vehicles. The types of vehicles frequently sought included various models of Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Maserati, Porsche, Jaguar and Bentley. Some cars were taken through carjackings, while others were stolen from 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. A state grand jury indictment returned on April 28, 2016, charged two men as leaders of the auto theft trafficking ring. Twenty other defendants were charged, who allegedly filled various roles in the ring, including carjacker, car thief, wheel man, fence, shipper and buyer. Shippers would load the cars into shipping containers, which were taken to ports for transport by ship to West Africa.

Of the 90 vehicles recovered in Operation 17 Corridor, 23 were recovered at ports used by the ring, including Port Newark, Port Elizabeth, Global Terminal in Bayonne and the Howland Hook Seaport in Staten Island, N.Y. The ring operated in Rockland County, N.Y., and numerous counties in New Jersey, including Morris, Bergen, Essex, Union, Hudson, Monmouth, Middlesex, Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

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