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Montclair Man Facing Prison for Role in Carjacking Ring That Sold Cars Overseas

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TRENTON – Frazier Gibson, 31, of Montclair, N.J., pleaded guilty on May 3 to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of seven years in prison, including 3 ½ years of parole ineligibility.  He is awaiting sentencing.

Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that another Essex County man associated with the ring, Terrence Wilson, was sentenced to state prison Friday in connection with the 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. 

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Most of the defendants were arrested on Oct. 27, 2015, when the partnering agencies broke up the theft ring.  Ninety stolen cars worth over $4 million were recovered in the investigation.

Wilson, 41, of Newark, N.J., was sentenced today 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.

Deputy Attorney General Debra Conrad, Senior Counsel for the Specialized Crimes Bureau, and Deputy Attorney General Danielle Scarduzio are prosecuting the defendants and handled today’s sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau.

“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,” said Attorney General Porrino.   “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,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners at all levels to target carjackers and stolen-car traffickers.”

“The recovery of more than $4 million worth of high-end cars during this operation revealed that members of this carjacking ring were victimizing the citizens of New Jersey to fuel the large scale demand for luxury cars overseas,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Putting members of this dangerous organization behind bars is not only a victory for the State Police and our law enforcement partners but also for the communities that were targeted.”

The following 16 other defendants previously pleaded guilty in Operation 17 Corridor:

 

  1. Derrick Moore, 37, of Newark, N.J., pleaded guilty to first-degree racketeering on April 19 and faces a recommended sentence of 14 years in prison, including nearly 12 years of parole ineligibility.  He is awaiting sentencing.

 

  1. Rashawn Gartrell, 38, of Irvington, N.J., pleaded guilty to first-degree money laundering and was sentenced on Nov. 4, 2016 to 12 years in prison, including five years of parole ineligibility.

 

  1. Nasir Turner, 37, of Newark, N.J., pleaded guilty to first-degree racketeering on March 1, 2016 and faces a recommended sentence of 11 years in state prison, including more than nine years of parole ineligibility.  He is awaiting sentencing.

 

  1. Donnell Carroll, 30, of East Orange, N.J., pleaded guilty to first-degree racketeering and was sentenced on Jan. 27 to 10 years in state prison, including 8 ½ years of parole ineligibility.

 

  1. Eddie Craig, 37, of Beverly, N.J., pleaded guilty on Feb. 11, 2016 to first-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of nine years in prison, including more than 7 ½ years of parole ineligibility.  He is awaiting sentencing.

 

  1. Levell Burnett, 40, of East Orange, N.J., pleaded guilty on May 1 to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of nine years in prison, including four years of parole ineligibility.  He is awaiting sentencing.

 

  1. Frazier Gibson, 31, of Montclair, N.J., pleaded guilty on May 3 to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of seven years in prison, including 3 ½ years of parole ineligibility.  He is awaiting sentencing.

 

  1. Khalil Culbreath, 39, of Newark, N.J., pleaded guilty on 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 is awaiting sentencing.

 

  1. Julian Atta-Poku, 35, of Queens Village, N.Y., pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy and was sentenced on Sept. 30, 2016 to seven years in prison.

 

  1. Manuel Olivares, 46, of Jersey City, N.J., pleaded guilty on Jan. 6, 2016 to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of seven years in prison.  He is awaiting sentencing.

 

  1. Damion Mikell, 34, of East Orange, N.J., pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering and was sentenced on Nov. 18, 2016 to six years in prison, including two years of parole ineligibility.

 

  1. Alterique Jones, 42, of Maplewood, N.J., pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering and was sentenced on Aug. 5, 2016 to six years in prison, including two years of parole ineligibility.

 

  1. Marquis Price, 33, of Newark, N.J., pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering and was sentenced on June 9 to six years in prison.

 

  1. Panel Dalce, 44, of South Orange, N.J., pleaded guilty on Dec. 22, 2015 to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of six years in prison.  He is awaiting sentencing.

 

  1. Adama Fofana, 55, of Teaneck, N.J., pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering on July 26, 2016 and faces a recommended sentence of five years in prison.  He is awaiting sentencing.

 

  1. Alpha Jalloh, 28, of Brooklyn, N.Y., pleaded guilty on May 24, 2016 to second-degree racketeering and faces a recommended sentence of five years in prison.  He is awaiting sentencing.

 

The ring that was dismantled by the Attorney General’s Office, the New Jersey State Police and their partners 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.

 

The following agencies assisted in Operation 17 Corridor, under the leadership of the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice:

 

1.      Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Police Department

2.      ICE Homeland Security Investigations-Newark, Border Enforcement Security Task Force

3.      Morris County Prosecutor’s Office

4.      Essex County Prosecutor’s Office

5.      Demarest Police Department

6.      Paramus Police Department

7.      South Orange Police Department

8.      Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office

9.      Hanover Police Department

10.  Linden Police Department

11.  U.S. Customs & Border Protection

12.  Essex County Sheriff’s Office

13.  Hudson County Sheriff’s Office

14.  Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor

15.  U.S. Marshals Service

 

Valuable assistance also was provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

 

The lead prosecutors are Deputy Attorney General Debra Conrad, Senior Counsel in the Specialized Crimes Bureau, and Deputy Attorney General Danielle Scarduzio, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Jacqueline Smith and Deputy Director Jill Mayer of the Division of Criminal Justice.  The investigation was conducted for the New Jersey State Police by members of the Interstate Theft North Unit and other members of the Intelligence and Criminal Enterprise Section, including Detective Cory Rodriguez, who is lead detective, Lt. Ronald Micucci, Detective Sgt. 1st Class Robert Tobey, Detective Sgt. Aaron Auclair, Detective Sgt. Jeovanny Rodriguez,  Detective Sgt. Anthony Aguanno, Detective Sgt. Pete Stilianessis, Trooper Nicholas Rubino, Trooper Armando Rivas and Trooper Michael Ferrara.

 

Defense Attorney for Terrence Wilson: Gracia Montilus, Esq., South Orange, N.J.

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