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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
October 20, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Operators of North Jersey Stolen Merchandise Ring Plead Guilty to Fencing More than $1 Million in Stolen Goods
Operation “Enterprise” Purchased Stolen Weapons, Construction Equipment, Motorcycles, High-End Clothing & Electronics, Medical Supplies, Toys, Cosmetics, and Other Commodities...

Morris County - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that eight members of a North Jersey fencing operation charged with trafficking and selling more than one million dollars in stolen goods and merchandise pleaded guilty today in Morris County Superior Court to fencing-related charges. As a result of the guilty pleas, the defendants face a combined 33 years in state and county prison when sentenced on Dec. 20.

Attorney General Harvey said the guilty pleas resulted from a sweeping investigation conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice -- “Operation Enterprise” -- which targeted a group of North Jersey individuals engaged in the large-scale highjacking of truck cargo and the theft of merchandise from storage warehouses throughout the North Jersey area. Through “Operation Enterprise,” the Division of Criminal Justice established a working warehouse as an undercover location where individuals dealing in large quantities of stolen merchandise were able to “fence” the items to persons they believed were re-selling the goods to “select” buyers.

According to Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy, the following defendants pleaded guilty before Morris County Superior Court Judge Samuel Ahto:

  • Nicholas “Luis Ifer” Lucarello, 29, 378 Warburton Ave., Hawthorne, Passaic County. Pled guilty to Fencing (2nd degree) - will be sentenced to eight years in state prison;
  • Joseph Zarillo, 33, 1 Crestwood Ave. Fairfield, Essex County. Pled guilty to Fencing (2nd degree) - will be sentenced to four years in State Prison;
  • Aexander Zaccaro, Sr. (Skippy Sr.), 58, 329 Mt. Pleasant Ave., West Paterson, Passaic County. Pled guilty to Fencing (2nd degree) - will be sentenced to three years in State Prison;
  • Alexander Zaccaro, Jr. (Skippy Jr.), 38, 52 Big Piece Road, Fairfield, Essex County. Pled guilty to Fencing (2nd degree) - will be sentenced to eight years in State Prison.
  • Carmen Russo, 39, 6 Renaissance Drive, Clifton, Passaic County. Pled guilty to Fencing (2nd degree) - will be sentenced to five years in State Prison;
  • Frank Jones, 43, 79 Pershing Ave., Cartaret, Middlesex County. Pled guilty to Fencing (2nd degree) - will be sentenced to 364 days in the Morris County Jail;
  • Lucia Lucarello, 31, 378 Warburton Ave., Hawthorne, Passaic County. Pled guilty to Failure to Pay Gross Income Tax (3rd degree) - will be sentenced to a term of probation3-5 years/15,000 fine); and
  • Thomas Gardner, 48, 104 Edinburgh Ct., Jacksonville, NC. Pled guilty to Fencing (2nd degree) - will be sentenced to four years in State Prison.

Director McKoy said the defendants were charged via a 33-count State Grand Jury indictment returned on March 17, 2005, with varying counts of conspiracy to commit racketeering, leader of a firearms trafficking network, money laundering, fencing, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, the possession and unlawful sale or disposition of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines, and tax law violations.

McKoy noted that Operation “Enterprise” established the existence of a group of individuals involved in the “underground or black market” business of brokering large amounts of stolen merchandise. The criminals developed a network of prearranged drop locations for the storage of stolen merchandise; separate locations for the delivery of the stolen goods being fenced for resale; and different meeting locations for the exchange of cash. During the course of the year-long investigation, State Investigators from the Division of Criminal Justice - Organized Crime & Racketeering Bureau posed as “fences” interested in purchasing any and all types of stolen merchandise. As a result of the undercover investigative efforts, State Investigators successfully negotiated the purchase of more that one million dollars worth of stolen equipment, merchandise, and commodities. As the investigation expanded, State Investigators brokered not only the sale of stolen cargo and merchandise, but illegal drugs, narcotics and weapons, including prohibited assault weapons.

The State Grand Jury indictment charged that from November, 2003 through March, 2005, Operation “Enterprise” purchased stolen merchandise including medical supplies, electronics, construction equipment, high-end clothing, toys, motorcycles, coffee and other commodities, cosmetics, forklifts, electrical supplies, imported Italian marble, and automobile parts. Specifically, State Investigators negotiated the purchased an Intratec TEC 9 semi-automatic assault weapon with a detachable large-capacity ammunition magazine, a Intratec DC semi-automatic assault firearm with a large capacity ammunition magazine, a Charles Daly .45 ACP semi-automatic handgun, a Tarus PT-22 semi-automatic pistol, a Tarus PT-22 9mm semi-automatic pistol, and a HiPoint 9mm Model C semi-automatic pistol. Additionally, significant quantities of MDMA (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), oxycontin, and marijuana were purchased during the undercover operation.

Operation “Enterprise” was initiated by Division of Criminal Justice - Organized Crime & Racketeering Bureau. Deputy Chief State Investigator Michael Tarantino and State Investigators assigned to the Organized Crime & Racketeering Bureau conducted the investigation. Supervising Deputy Attorney General Mark Eliades and Deputy Attorney General Debra Conrad prosecuted the case. Additional investigative assistance was provided by the Paterson Police Department, the Bergen County Police Department, the Hanover Township Police Department, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, and the New Jersey State Police Cargo Theft Unit.

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