Some crooks steal diamonds, others go for cash. An alleged eight-man gang from Miami, however, went for the real motherlode: over $6.7 million worth of iPhones.
Using fake identity documents and a tractor, the group allegedly stole around 23,000 iPhones from Miami International Airport in April of this year, according to an indictment unsealed on Monday.
On Tuesday, the FBI announced the arrest of several members of the group: Yoan Perez, 33, Rodolfo Urra, 36, Misael Cabrera, 37, Rasiel Perez, 45, and Eloy Garcia, 42. The investigation was carried out in collaboration with the Miami-Dade Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations.
But it's the audacity of this scheme that stands out. In October, Perez and others met to discuss using fake identity and shipping documents to steal a load of cargo from the Miami International Airport, the indictment reads.
The following April, Perez, Bello and others outfitted a tractor and trailer so it appeared to be operated by Florida International Enterprises Inc., a licensed freight shipping and trucking company from the local area.
On the same day, a co-conspirator allegedly drove the custom tractor to the airport, claimed to be a licensed driver, and simply made off with approximately $6,791,636.81 of stolen goods.
"It was the purpose of the conspiracy for the defendants and their co-conspirators to unjustly enrich themselves by receiving and taking possession of stolen merchandise, which constituted a foreign shipment of freight and property, for resale and profit," the indictment reads.
Several members of the gang then allegedly helped out by renting storage space for the mass of iPhones, and arranged for several bulk sales to buyers: 100 iPhone 5Ss for $12,500, 80 of the same model for $9,800, and then 40 iPhone 6Ss for $10,000. In all, the indictment includes seven completed transactions, at a total value of $71,400. Clearly, selling over $6 million worth of the phones was going to take some time.
The charge of theft from an interstate or foreign shipment comes with a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment, as does possession of goods stolen from an interstate or foreign shipment.
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