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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Two men sentenced for thefts targeting Southwire Copper Company in Carrollton, Georgia

ROME, Ga. - Yosvani Castillo and Rodolfo Arteaga Oliva have been sentenced after pleading guilty to hijacking truckloads of valuable copper wire and other copper products. The Southwire Copper Company, based in Carrollton, Georgia, was one of the pair's primary targets.


“Interstate cargo theft is an extremely serious offense that strains the local economy,” said U. S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “These thieves went out of their way to avoid detection and brazenly stole whole trucks filled with copper products.  The financial impact not only affected customers all over the country who buy these products, but they impacted the employees and communities where these companies operate.”


“This conviction demonstrates the great work of law enforcement at all levels to investigate and prosecute major cargo theft affecting Georgia and our surrounding states.  The GBI remains committed to working with our local and federal partners to address these types of crimes,” said Vernon Keenan, Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation.


According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: On several occasions, defendants Castillo and Oliva drove up from Miami to Carrollton, and conducted surveillance on tractor-trailers as they left the Southwire facility to deliver copper products to customers across the country. In addition to Southwire, the defendants also targeted truckloads leaving the Hussey Copper company in Pennsylvania.


The defendants followed the unsuspecting truck until the driver pulled over for a stop, often after hundreds of miles of driving. They would then steal the entire truck and trailer, sometimes transferring the copper into a different trailer they brought with them to avoid detection, and drove the load back to Miami where Castillo arranged to sell the copper for below-market value to a metal recycler.


After stealing the trucks, they removed Global Positioning System (“GPS”) trackers from the trucks and installed “jammers,” which are illegal signal-blocking devices that prevent any tracking of GPS devices or cellular phones. The victims, which include not only Southwire and Hussey, but also the transportation companies whose trucks were stolen, sustained over $1.3 million in losses.


Rodolfo Arteaga Oliva, 40, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced by Judge Harold Murphy to four years, nine months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.  Yosvani Castillo, 38, also of Miami, Florida, was sentenced on May 10, 2017 to five years, three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Oliva and Castillo were ordered to pay restitution, jointly and severally, in the amount of $1,107,575.58. Castillo is separately responsible for paying an additional $276,142.68 in restitution.


This case was investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, with substantial assistance provided by Miami-Dade Police Cargo Theft Task Force. 


Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynsey M. Barron prosecuted the case.


For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga

Consumer Protection
Updated November 16, 2017