Following a lengthy investigation conducted by numerous law enforcement agencies, a massive carjacking scheme was recently dismantled in New Jersey, leading to 26 arrests and the seizure of over 160 vehicles, the total value of which has been estimated at $8 million.
According to acting Attorney General John Hoffman, the investigation, known as “Operation Jacked,” occurred over a period of 10 months and was led by officials from the New Jersey State Police Department. Of the 26 total suspects arrested and charged in connection with the operation, 7 men are currently facing charges for organizing the carjacking ring and overseeing its execution. Other participants maintained responsibilities like stealing the cars themselves, securing their transportation, and acting as negotiators with international purchasers.
Per reports, the majority of the cars were luxury-style vehicles, such as Jaguars, Land Rovers and Porsches, which were stolen by various means from locations primarily in Northern and Central New Jersey. They were subsequently transported to West Africa via ports in Newark and Elizabeth, as well as through Staten Island’s Howland Hook Marine Terminal.
Although my prior posts concerning the carjacking and murder of Dustin Friedland, the Hoboken attorney shot in the parking lot at the Short Hills mall in December, has no correlation to this operation, the case represents a general trend identified by authorities last year. According to the Superintendent of the State Police, Colonel Rick Fuentes, it was this distressing observation that compelled the initiation of “Operation Jacked.”
New Jersey officials attribute the recent increase in carjacking crimes in New Jersey to the highly sophisticated security protections with which many vehicles are now equipped. As technology has advanced the security of these cars, it has become more difficult for offenders to steal parked and unoccupied vehicles, thus promoting the use or threat of force that carjacking offenses require.
In addition to prosecuting those arrested and charged, authorities are in the process of returning the recovered cars to their rightful owners.
For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: State Police dismantle international crime ring that shipped cars from NJ to West Africa