BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — Four men were indicted on conspiring to load stolen luxury cars from Closter, Mahwah and other New Jersey municipalities onto cargo ships or fence in other states, Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced.
Kelvin Vega, his brother Jonathan Vega, Carlos Sanchez Jr. and Bilal Cureton, all of Newark, were charged in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force and Division of Criminal Justice, the release says.
The Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau obtained a state grand jury indictment charged each with second-degree counts of conspiracy, financial facilitation of criminal activity, fencing, receiving stolen property and theft by unlawful taking.
All of those men are also charged with third-degree burglary, and Cureton is charged with third-degree attempted theft by unlawful taking.
The defendants allegedly stole numerous high-end vehicles, including various models of Mercedes, BMWs and Bentleys.
The investigation revealed they allegedly used certain spots to “cool off” vehicles, parking them at a hotel in Elizabeth, for example, until they were sure they were not equipped with tracking devices that would lead law enforcement to them.
After a vehicle was sufficiently “cooled,” it was moved to a loading location, usually in Irvington, to be shipped, or was fenced domestically.
Several of the vehicles allegedly stolen by the defendants were recovered from shipping containers prior to being placed on cargo vessels.
The defendants were allegedly directly linked to thefts of at least 14 vehicles with a combined estimated value of more than $800,000.
Vehicles were stolen from Morristown, Long Hill, Jamesburg, Holmdel, Livingston, Closter, Princeton and Mahwah.
One stolen Mercedes S550 was traced to Louisiana, where Kelvin Vega allegedly was found in possession of that car and a second stolen Mercedes S550. Other stolen cars were recovered in Maryland and Ohio.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Peter E. Warshaw in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Morris County, where the defendants will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.
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