Fourth New Jersey Man Charged in Connection with an Interstate Luxury Car Theft Ring
NEWARK, N.J. – A fourth man was arrested today for his role in a conspiracy to steal and transport across state lines luxury cars from towns in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Bilal Cureton, 30, of Newark, is charged by amended complaint with conspiring to transport stolen vehicles in interstate commerce. Cureton was arrested today and is scheduled to appear by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III.
Malik Baker, Hakeem Smith, and Nafique Goodwyn were previously charged by complaint with conspiring to transport stolen vehicles in interstate commerce. Baker and Smith were also previously charged with one count of conspiring to receive stolen vehicles and one count of receiving a stolen vehicle that had crossed state lines after being stolen, and Smith was also previously charged with one count of transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Since July 2019, the defendants and others stole and conspired to steal at least 10 luxury cars from towns in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, and hid those cars at a location in Irvington, New Jersey. The cars include a 2019 BMW X4 M40i, stolen from Greenwich, Connecticut on July 19, 2019; a 2016 Mercedes Maybach S600, stolen from Clifton, New Jersey, on Aug. 1, 2019; a 2019 Porsche Cayenne, stolen from New City, New York, on Aug. 6, 2019; a 2017 Mercedes S550 and a 2019 Rolls Royce, stolen from Hewlett Bay Park, New York, on Aug. 13, 2019; a 2019 Land Rover, stolen from Kensington, New York, on Aug. 22, 2019; a 2019 Mercedes Maybach, stolen from Quogue, New York, on Aug. 29, 2019; a 2014 Lexus GS, stolen from West Long Branch, New Jersey, on Aug. 29, 2019; a 2017 BMW M4, stolen from Marlton, New Jersey, on Sept. 7, 2019, and a 2017 Mercedes AMG S63, stolen from Orangeburg, New York, in September 2019.
The defendants often used the stolen cars to steal more cars, and, in one instance, they used a Maserati GranTurisimo they stole from Manalapan, New Jersey, to steal a Range Rover and a Porsche Cayenne in the early morning hours of Aug. 6, 2019 in New City, New York. When law enforcement attempted to conduct a stop of the Maserati, the Maserati accelerated and crashed head-on into a police vehicle before the suspects fled the scene in another stolen vehicle. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement recovered one of the stolen cars in a shipping container at the port in Newark en route to Ghana, Africa.
The cars stolen by the defendants have an estimated total value of at least $1.5 million.
The charge of conspiracy to transport stolen vehicles is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offenses, whichever is greater.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; as well as the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. She also thanked officers with the Irvington Township Police Department, under the direction of Director Tracy Bowers; the Clarkstown Police Department, under the direction of Chief Raymond McCullagh; the Wall Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Kenneth Brown, Jr.; the Marlboro Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Peter Pezzullo; the Tewksbury Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Tim Barlow; the Port Authority Police Department, under the direction of Superintendent Edward Cetnar; the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan; the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Michael J. Williams, as well as officers and agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Troy Miller, director of Field Operations, New York Field Office; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina, and the Department of Commerce-Office of Export Enforcement, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson in New York, for their assistance.
This investigation is part of the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) in Newark. The VCI was formed in August 2017 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the City of Newark’s Department of Public Safety to combat violent crime in and around Newark. As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate and pool resources to prosecute violent offenders who endanger the safety of the community. The VCI is composed of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the ATF, the DEA New Jersey Division, the U.S. Marshals, the Newark Department of Public Safety, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, N.J. State Board of Parole, Union County Jail, N.J. State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center/Real Time Crime Center, N.J. Department of Corrections, the East Orange Police Department, and the Irvington Police Department.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Amore and Olajide Araromi of the Office’s Government Fraud Unit.
The charges and allegations contained in the amended complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.