Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that an Essex County man was sentenced to state prison today in connection with a 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.
The man was indicted last year 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. Most of the defendants were arrested on Oct. 27, 2015, when the partnering agencies broke up the theft ring. Ninety stolen cars worth more than $4 million were recovered in the investigation.
Donell Carroll, 29, of East Orange, was sentenced today to 10 years in state prison, including 8 ½ years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Taylor in Morris County. Carroll pleaded guilty on Dec. 14 to a charge of first-degree racketeering. In pleading guilty, Carroll admitted that he was a member of the stolen car trafficking ring.
“The members of this carjacking ring terrorized suburban residents and luxury car owners,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the State Police Interstate Theft North Unit, Port Authority of NY and NJ Police, Division of Criminal Justice, and a multitude of law enforcement agencies, we are sending them to prison.”
Four other defendants in the case were sentenced within the past six months by Judge Taylor: Rashawn Gartrell, 37, of Irvington, pleaded guilty to first-degree money laundering and was sentenced on Nov. 4 to 12 years in prison, including five years of parole ineligibility; Julian Atta-Poku, 34, of Queens Village, N.Y., pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy and was sentenced on Sept. 30 to seven years in prison; Damion Mikell, 34, of East Orange, pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering and was sentenced on Nov. 18 to six years in prison, including two years of parole ineligibility; Alterique Jones, 41, of Maplewood, N.J., pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering and was sentenced on Aug. 5 to six years in prison, with two years of parole ineligibility.
The ring that was dismantled the Attorney General’s Office and its 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 charged three men as leaders of the auto theft trafficking ring.