A North Bergen man was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to 41 months in prison for being the mastermind behind a nearly $1 million cargo theft ring, authorities said.Hamad Siyam, 43, had been convicted of conspiracy to possess, and the actual possession of, commercial goods traveling through interstate roads, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.A jury in December found him guilty of a scheme to steal tractor-trailers loaded with merchandise, with the intent to resell them, the release states. The trailers were stolen out of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.Siyam initially sought help from an acquaintance to store the stolen goods, authorities said. The acquaintance, it turned out, was an informant for the FBI and New Jersey State Police.To catch him in the act, law enforcement officials stationed a man as manager of a warehouse in Sayreville. When Siyam arrived, four of his vehicles contained merchandise totaling nearly $1 million, authorities said. The items ranged from food and bed linen to clothes bound for Burlington Coat Factory and items meant to be shipped to Home Goods stores.Siyam was caught on tape talking about the goods and taking inventory, authorities said.In addition to time in prison, Siyam was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh to three years of supervision upon release and to pay more than $633,000 in restitution, the release states.In a separate case, Siyam is facing charges of conspiracy to receive and sell stolen goods and money laundering, according to authorities. The charges stem from the alleged sale of baby formula stolen from stores in several southern states.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Distribution breeds cargo theft
Memphis Business Journal by Andy Ashby
September 23, 2011
Bobby Wiggins says “some thieves will follow a truck as it leaves Memphis, then rob it when a driver takes a break on the road.”
While the Memphis metropolitan area ranks high among the nation’s distribution centers, that notoriety also translates into unwanted baggage: cargo theft.
A FreightWatch report in April ranked Memphis/West Memphis as No. 5 nationally for major risk zones with 110 thefts between 2006 and 2010. Los Angeles topped the list with 518.
Companies with distribution operations in the area are partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement to combat this type of crime while implementing extra security measures when possible to decrease the number of incidents.
One of the reasons the Memphis area has a high degree of incidents is because the area is high in the number of distribution centers as well as high-risk product distribution, according to Bobby Wiggins, a board member on the Mid-South Cargo Security Council.
“In Memphis, you’ve got your largest pharmaceutical distribution centers and your major cell phone carriers,” he says. “That plays a pretty big role.”
Pharmaceutical thefts are on the rise nationally, increasing by 283 percent from 2007 to 2008.
In early 2011, Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based DDN added 140,000 square feet of space in Southeast Memphis. This brought the company’s pharmaceutical distribution operations in Memphis no more than 500,000 square feet.
In second quarter 2012, Weston, Fla.-based Anda Distribution will open a 234,660-square-foot generic drug distribution facility at 8644 Polk Lane in Olive Branch.
Thieves target pharmaceuticals because they can find ready markets in third-world countries, among others.
Cargo theft is also an issue throughout the Mid-South for the same reasons distribution centers are so prevalent here: major interstates such as I-40 and I-55. Thieves have a lot of choices when it comes to stealing product and getting it out of town. Also, some groups will follow a truck 200 miles out of Memphis and wait for the driver to get out for a bite to eat.
“It doesn’t always happen here in Memphis even if the load originates here,” Wiggins says.
The Mid-South Cargo Security Council is an organization made up of local businesses which deal in the shipping industry. The organization’s mission is to understand what is going on in cargo theft, provide support for the FBI and other agencies and offset some costs for their training and equipment.
Wiggins was a military police officer for 15 years and has worked for various distribution centers since 1993, mostly in the electronics industry.
He says many companies are combating cargo theft by having their own Global Positioning System programs that are becoming more sophisticated all the time.
Companies used to put big domes on their trailers with GPS systems.
“Those were easily defeated able,” Wiggins says. “They’d either rip them off or knock them off with a baseball bat.”
Now companies are imbedding GPS devices in the load and monitoring it themselves.
It’s an added expense, but it affects how criminal gangs operate.
“Once they learn companies are doing that, they’re a little more conscious in how they pick their loads,” Wiggins says. “This can, in some cases, reduce the number of trailers you could lose.”
Also, with certain loads, companies will require a two-man team with at least one person being with the truck at all times.
Companies are also working more with law enforcement.
Cargo theft is one area where law enforcement teams with private industry, according to ConradStraube, special agent with the FBI’s Memphis division and coordinator of its Memphis Cargo Theft Task Force.
The task force investigates major thefts, but also meets regularly with groups like the Mid-South Cargo Security Council to keep the business community apprised of local, regional and national trends in cargo theft.
“We figure if we can get ahead of some of these problems, that will prevent us from having to do more investigation down the road,” Straube says.
The two organizations had 150 people participate in a conference last year focused on cargo theft. They are expecting more than 300 in a similar conference in October.
At the end of the day, security is simply a part of the business.
“Security isn’t a profit center, it’s a cost center,” Wiggins says, “but it maintains the integrity of the inventory.
Generic drugmaker Actavis suffered a full truckload (FTL) cargo theft on October 19, losing more than 30 pallets of opioid analgesics, benzodiazepines and epilepsy drugs.
The thieves made off with 14 pallets of oxycodone HCl tablets (around 70,000 units), six pallets of anxiety drug alprazolam (around 24,000 units) and nine pallets of the epilepsy drug gabapentin (about 5,000 units). The estimated value of the haul has not yet been released.
The shipment was taken at a truck stop in Washington County, Pennsylvania, whilst en route from a facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to a warehouse in Louisville, Kentucky, according to an alert from the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Consortium (PCSC).
The carrier was GSI Trucking and both trailer and tractor were taken after the driver left the vehicle running while he went inside the truck stop to purchase cigarettes. While the truck had a GPS tracker installed the alarm was not raised immediately because the legitimate driver was thought to be behind the wheel.
The tractor was recovered by Pennsylvania State Police but the trailer and its contents remain unaccounted for.
A quarterly update on North American cargo theft trends by Chubb Insurance notes that there were 16 pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medicines thefts in the third quarter of 2011, around 7 per cent of the total of 216 recorded in the period.
Pharmaceuticals were the fourth most common target for the thieves, after food and non-alcoholic beverages (42 losses), consumer electronics (23) and building materials (21). Clothing also featured highly with 15 incidents, followed by metals (14) and alcoholic drinks (12).
© 2011 SecuringPharma.com
cargo theft, trailer theft, cargo security, covert gps, transport security, trailer security
CARGO THEFT REPORT:
Click here to read the: Chubb Marine Underwriters North American Cargo Theft 3Q 2011
By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel
Over the past few months, a small gang of thieves stole semitrailers full of everything from Nike shoes to Miller beer to windshield washing fluid from around the Milwaukee area, according to federal charges filed this week after a months-long undercover investigation.
A federal criminal complaint details how the group hit local truck yards, scouted loaded trailers, then hooked up selected targets to tractor trucks and drove them away to Detroit and Indiana to sell the stolen cargo.
Named in the complaint are Jose Rosales, 51, of West Allis, his brother Mario Rosales, of Florida, Oliver Castillo of Milwaukee and Leonilo Tirse of Florida. The Rosales brothers and Tirse are being held without bail after preliminary hearings Tuesday. It was unclear from court records whether Castillo has been arrested.
"It's an ongoing investigation," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Mel Johnson, noting that none of the cases involved violence or the hijacking of trucks from legitimate drivers.
According to the complaint:
Confidential informants led investigators to Jose Rosales, who told one informant he dealt in stolen property and asked another informant for help finding storage sites for the stolen merchandise. Jose Rosales also indicated he was working with an insider at a trucking company to plan a heist in July.
In April, the theft of a 2004 Freightliner truck was reported to the West Milwaukee Police Department. Later that month, a trailer load of Miller beer worth $30,000 was reported stolen.
A trailer loaded with about 3,000 pairs of Nike shoes valued at $250,000 was reported stolen from Aim Transfer and Storage on S. 13th St. May 29. Surveillance video showed the thieves took not only the trailer, but a truck valued at $25,000 to tow it.
In early June, a tractor-trailer rig loaded with mozzarella cheese was stolen from West Allis. The rig was found empty three days later near Detroit.
Later in June, agents observed Jose Rosales at a storage facility in Eagle, where the trailer reported stolen from West Milwaukee in April was also observed, and found to be filled with Chex Mix and Shark Bite fruit snacks worth about $50,000. Agents put tracking devices on both the tractor and the trailer, and later tracked their movement to various spots in Wauwatosa, Milwaukee and then Michigan.
The rig was pulled over July 2 in Benton Harbor, Mich., and the driver and a passenger were interviewed by Michigan State Police. The passenger said he was to meet the Rosales brothers near Detroit. The two men in the truck were convicted in Michigan of receiving stolen property.
Apparently undaunted by that bust and lost load, Jose Rosales kept talking with the confidential informants about truck thefts, the complaint indicates.
On Aug. 21, a trailer loaded with about $100,000 worth of antifreeze and windshield cleaning fluid was stolen from an open truck lot at 11400 W. Burleigh St. in Wauwatosa. Agents noted that Jose Rosales' cellphone was nearby at the time, then went to his home, then to Detroit.
On Aug. 28, a trailer loaded with $30,000 worth of salad dressing was stolen from a lot on W. Becher St. in West Allis. Again, records showed Jose Rosales' cellphone in the area at that time, and then traveling to Detroit.
Over Labor Day weekend, the defendants broke into the truck yard at S. 13th St. and W. College Ave. again, entered 17 trailers before trying to steal one loaded with Harley-Davidsons but were stymied by a gate lock they could not cut.
On Sept. 5, a trailer loaded with rock salt and a forklift was stolen from industrial site in New Berlin.
On Sept. 18, a 1998 Kenworth tractor was stolen from a lot at S. 11th St. and W. Grange Ave. Ten days later, Milwaukee police found it parked outside Castillo's north side residence.
Then on the weekend of Oct. 1, the group returned again to Aim Transfer, broke into several trailers, but only took electronic merchandise from one of them. Jose Rosales also discovered that agents had put a tracking device on his van. And on Monday, he, his brother and Tirse were arrested in that van.