Five men, who are allegedly connected with a statewide cargo theft ring, were recently arrested on theft charges, according to News 4 Jax. They allegedly stole more than $1.2 million worth of merchandise throughout Florida during eight separate semi-truck thefts. Goods stolen include tires worth $100,000 and sugar worth $50,000. Their criminal charges, which are first degree felonies, include conspiracy to commit racketeering and multiple counts of grand theft cargo valued at $50,000 or more. The maximum prison sentences for the crimes they allegedly committed are 30 years for each count, of which there are many counts.
Cargo Theft Laws in Florida
Cargo theft is defined as taking any goods, property, money, or baggage that is part of a commercial shipment. Cargo theft can occur with any mode of shipping and can take place at any time from the point of origin to the final destination of the cargo.
Grand Theft of the First Degree
Concerning tractor trailers, grand theft of the first degree occurs when the property stolen was valued at $50,000 or more and “has entered the stream of interstate or intrastate commerce from the shipper’s loading platform to the consignee’s receiving dock.” This means that a person who is caught stealing an item, or items, worth $50,000 that is not the property of a shipping company in transit would not be charged as harshly as someone who stole from a shipping company. Additionally, theft of property valued at $100,000 or more that was deployed by a law enforcement officer, or is a semitrailer of any value deployed by a law enforcement officer, is also grand theft of the first degree, punishable as a first degree felony and 30 years in prison. Using a motor vehicle as an instrument of the theft, not including a getaway vehicle, during a grand theft of any degree, or causing property damage of at least $1,000 also constitutes grand theft of the first degree.
Grand Theft of the Second Degree
Grand theft of the second degree is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If cargo is stolen valued at under $50,000, the defendant will be charged with grand theft of the second degree.
Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering
Racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering are both federal and Florida state crimes, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and serious fines. Under Florida statute 895.02, to be charged with racketeering, an individual must be part of an organized crime enterprise, and must have participated in two or more racketeering activities to further the enterprise’s criminal goals. Many crimes fall under the category of racketeering offenses, including theft.
Call the Professional Criminal Defense Attorneys of the Skier Law Firm Today in West Palm Beach
The West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys of the Skier Law Firm have experience in all matters of criminal law, including racketeering and cargo theft offenses. Contact us today for immediate legal assistance.