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Press Release

Laurel Man Sentenced To 37 Months In Federal Prison For Conspiring To Illegally Ship Stolen Cars To West Africa

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Rodley Balthazar, age 30, a Haitian citizen residing in Laurel, Maryland, to 37 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit transportation of stolen motor vehicles and receipt and possession of stolen motor vehicles. 

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Michael McCarthy of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Port of Baltimore Director Adam Rottman of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Colonel Joseph F. Scott.

According to his plea agreement, between approximately September 2019 and June 2022, Balthazar worked with others to fraudulently rent vehicles from Hertz, Avis, and other car rental companies at locations in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Tennessee, and elsewhere.  Balthazar was able to rent these cars using false identifications and credit cards.

The vehicles would then be transported to Maryland where they would be loaded onto large cargo shipping containers and taken to the Port of Baltimore.  Then, using false declaration forms and other paperwork to conceal the containers’ contents, the containers with rental vehicles inside would be exported to West Africa via cargo ship where the vehicles could be sold. 

Law enforcement is aware of more than 40 vehicles that Balthazar and his co-conspirators either exported or attempted to export to West Africa.

Co-conspirator Jonathan Davis, age 39, of Laurel, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to receipt and possession of stolen vehicles and was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison.  A third co-conspirator, Abdul Karim Turay Jr. has pled guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, 2024.          

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron praised the HSI Border Enforcement Security Task Force and the Maryland Transportation Authority Police for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Darren S. Gardner and Timothy F. Hagan who prosecuted the case.

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Updated June 6, 2024