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Five Florida residents accused of racketeering

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement claims that a cargo theft ring stole truckloads of merchandise as part of an operation that stretched across the entire state. It is alleged that the number of stolen truckloads is in the dozens. Officials believe that items including food, drugs, clothing, tires and electronics simply disappeared. The fact that there were GPS devices installed on many of the missing trucks did not help to prevent the vehicles from vanishing.

In May, investigators in Sebring arrested a 34-year-old Lakeland man. Police later arrested a 48-year-old Miami Lakes resident and a 46-year-old Mulberry man. The accused men, as well as two additional, unidentified individuals that have not been taken into custody, all face charges of conspiracy to violate RICO, racketeering, cargo theft, burglary and grand theft of more than $100,000. The Orlando Office of Statewide Prosecution will handle the case.

Police allege that the accused individuals had stash houses in Hillsborough and Highlands counties and that they took the missing vehicles to those locations before unloading them. The vehicles were then allegedly taken to Miami. Officials claim to have found nine stolen semi-trailers, six stolen semi-tractors and merchandise located within some of the vehicles. It was not stated where these items were found.

When police accuse a person of committing a crime, a criminal defense attorney may be able to help at all stages of the proceeding. An attorney may be able to argue for pretrial release and sit with the accused during police interrogation. An attorney may be able to get all evidence in a case and advise on the best course of action. It may be possible to negotiate a deal with prosecutors or take the case to trial to seek a favorable outcome.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Florida ring stole cargo worth millions, police say", Henry Pierson Curtis, July 30, 2013

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