HILLSBOROUGH (FOX 13) -The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office thwarted a massive pharmaceutical drug heist during an undercover sting that resulted in the arrest of two truck drivers.
April 16th, detectives arrested Jose Levy-Ibanez, 46, and Arnaldo Zaldivar, 53, on several drug related and grand theft charges.
The day before, a confidential informant tipped off the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.
"We received information that there was going to be a hijacking of a tractor trailer full of pharmaceuticals," Maj. J.R. Burton said.
According to the sheriff's office, Ibanez was hired to drive the truck from a pharmaceutical warehouse in Lakeland to one in Atlanta, GA.
Instead, deputies say, Ibanez met up with Zaldivar at a truck stop in Sumter County, the two disabled a GPS unit in the truck and switched places.
Ibanez continued north toward Atlanta with the GPS unit now in a car, and Zaldivar drove the truck south toward Tampa.
"We, of course, had surveillance on the truck the entire time," Maj. Burton said.
Undercover detectives arranged to buy a portion of the load from Zaldivar at a truck stop off U.S. 301 north of I-4.
"He then parked, met our undercover detective. They negotiated a price for the load, and at that point we arrested him," Maj. Burton said.
The sheriff's office believes the truck was destined for Miami possibly to be smuggled overseas.
"A load that size you have to have a pretty large scale buyer. That's not something that you would disperse out on the street," Maj. Burton said.
The cargo theft data collected during the months of January, February and March of 2015
and used in this analysis continue to designate strong and consistent patterns in key areas,
including where and when cargo thieves prefer to strike and the products they target to
BY JAMES JAILLET
The average value lost per cargo theft incident rose 36 percent in 2014 compared to 2013, and the cargo theft threat level for 2015 remains high, according to cargo theft prevention firm FreightWatch International, who issued its 2014 cargo theft report this week.
The report says:
The average value lost per load in 2014 was $232,924
The number of reported thefts in the year totaled 794, a 12 percent drop from 2013
There were an average of 2.2 thefts per day.
cargo theft map
FreightWatch’s Hot Spot map
FreightWatch says cargo thieves in the U.S. are becoming more sophisticated, with data “suggesting organized thieves offset the lack of access to a high quantity of shipments by targeting higher value merchandise,” the report notes.
Stolen loads of electronics were one of the main drivers of the increase, as electronics thefts valued at more than $1 million tripled in 2014 from 2013, the report says.
The report details what was being stolen:
Food and drink loads topped the list at 19 percent
Electronics loads accounted for 16 percent of all thefts in 2014, second on the most targeted list
Home/garden loads accounted for 14 percent of 2014’s total
Nearly all of the cargo thefts in 2014 occurred in just five states: Florida, California, Texas, Georgia and New Jersey
And 90 percent of the year’s cargo thefts occurred while the truck was stationary or unattended, FreightWatch says. Related to that figure is the number of thefts occurring at what FreighWatch deems “unsecured parking” areas like truck stops. Lack of secured parking accounted for 87 percent of thefts, according to the report.
Concerning trends for 2015 include growing use of technology like jammers and more sophisticated tactics of surveying and targeting high value loads, FreightWatch says.
“The trend of increased targeting signals the necessity for industry leaders to improve security posture while simultaneously preparing for an escalated threat,” the report says.
Electronics loads accounted for 16 percent of all thefts in 2014, second on the most targeted list. Food and drink loads topped the list at 19 percent, while home/garden loads accounted for 14 percent of 2014’s total.
Police officers say they are searching for two men who shot a truck driver and then stole his trailer in northwest Atlanta.
The violent hijacking happened on Marietta Street and Perry Boulevard early Tuesday morning.
According to investigators, the truck driver was leaving the Norfolk Southern train yard when he was held up by two men. During the hijacking, the victim was shot in the head.
Channel 2’s Sophia Choi spoke to investigators at the scene.
“They forced him out of the truck, a struggle ensued, the victim was shot once. He had a graze wound to the head. He has been transported to Grady Hospital and is in stable condition at this time,” said Atlanta Police Capt. Terrell Griffin.
Investigators are searching for the rest of the man's rig, after finding the cab in DeKalb County. The truck's cab had a GPS tracker but the trailer does not.
“We're looking for a JB Hunt truck, a white cab, white trailer and the vehicle has homegood items, which is furniture,” Griffin said.
Investigators are going back to the areas where they know the truck stopped, before the thieves dumped the cab.
They're hoping clues in those areas will lead to the two thieves.
BY MARK GREEN
SALT LAKE CITY – Two men who were arrested in Utah with a semitrailer and more than 5,000 pairs of shoes that were reported stolen in Oregon have been indicted for interstate transportation of stolen property and re-entering the country after a previous deportation.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Juan Carlos Andino-Mejia, 24 of Los Angeles and a citizen of Honduras, and Marlon Emilio Vasquez-Garcia, 45 of Los Angeles and a citizen of El Salvador, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Utah Wednesday.
The indictment alleges the men transported 5,820 pairs of Keen Shoes with a value of more than $5,000 from Multnomah County, Oregon to Box Elder County, Utah. Police stated earlier they estimated the value of the stolen footwear at more than $1 million.The shoes were in a semitrailer that was reported stolen from a trucking company in Oregon.
The trucking company provided law enforcement with GPS coordinates from the truck, which was located by police at a truck stop in Box Elder County on March 23. The men were arrested by local police, and ICE Enforcement and Removal officers also contributed to the investigation.
Police stated at the time of the arrest that the men lacked documentation to confirm their identities and that they provided agents with, “some vague information about how they’d come into possession of the semi-truck and what they were planning to do with it.”
The press release states the two men have used a variety of names and “have had multiple deportations from the United States.”
The men each face up to 10 years in prison for one count of interstate transportation of stolen goods and up to 10 years in prison for one count of re-entering the country after a previous deportation, according to the press release.
Indictments are not findings of guilt, and individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until they are proven guilty in court. The initial court date for the pair has not yet been scheduled.