Four members of a Louisville, Kentucky-based crime ring have been sentenced for their roles in a cargo theft conspiracy that lasted from August 2012 to May 2015 and was responsible for more than $30 million in stolen cargo.
Robert Santos-Gonzalez, Carlos Enrique Freire-Pifferrer, and two truck drivers (Juan Perez-Gonzalez and Eduardo Hernandez) were named along with nine others in a 23-count indictment involving cargo stolen from more than nine different states. They were sentenced in a federal court in New Albany, Indiana, by a U.S. District judge.
Targeted loads included valuable commodities such as cell phones, appliances, apparel, computers, pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, and other goods. The co-conspirators would monitor distribution facilities that were known to haul valuable goods, conduct surveillance of the facility, and follow tractor-trailers leaving the facility to wait for an opportunity to steal the cargo.
When a driver would stop at a truck stop to rest or refuel, the group would steal the entire truck and trailer. The truck was usually abandoned within 20 miles of the theft, but the trailer would be hooked up to a waiting truck operated by another member of the crime ring and driven to Louisville, where arrangements were later made to sell the goods.
Due to their prior criminal history and extensive involvement in the new criminal conspiracy, the court on sentenced Santos to 150 months imprisonment and Perez to 108 months imprisonment. Freire and Hernandez were sentenced to 87 months and 12 months, respectively.
The convictions in the case were the result of a long investigation by the FBI and Kentucky State Police Vehicle Investigations Branch, with assistance from the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, Wythe County Sherriff’s Office, Fayette County, Ohio Sherriff’s Office, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Related: Six Steps to Thwart Cargo Theft