Troopers Bust High End Vehicle Crime Ring Operating In Millstone And Upper Freehold Townships; NJSP Investigation Takes Down Organization

The auto-theft ring targeted high-end vehicles in Monmouth County, Mercer County, Ocean County, Union County, Essex County, Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Burlington County, Bergen County, Middlesex County and New York State.

November 18, 2022

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)– The New Jersey State Police have charged six suspects and dismantled an auto theft ring in New Jersey and New York linked to the theft of more than 30 high-end vehicles worth more than $3 million during a seven-month investigation.

In May, detectives with the Troop “C” Criminal Investigation Office began investigating multiple high-end motor vehicle thefts in Millstone Township and Upper Freehold Township. As a result, detectives identified Geovanni Hernandez, 24, of Newark, N.J. as a suspect and linked him to the theft of a BMW M8 and three Land Rover Range Rovers in Upper Freehold Township and Millstone Township. On July 22, detectives located Hernandez and arrested him.

As a result of the on-going investigation, detectives identified Carlos Sanchez, 23, of Newark, N.J. as the leader of an auto-theft ring targeting high-end vehicles in Monmouth County, Mercer County, Ocean County, Union County, Essex County, Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Burlington County, Bergen County, Middlesex County and New York State. Detectives also identified James Lanier, 24, Solomon Mickens, 23, and Sadiq Griggs, 23, all of Newark, N.J. as associates.

Through various investigative means, detectives determined that the suspects were also targeting residences while victims were home and committed burglaries in an attempt to steal the vehicles. After stealing the vehicles, the suspects would transport them to other locations where they were given fraudulent vehicle identification numbers to be re-titled and sold through an online marketplace.

On November 17, members of the Troop “C” Criminal Investigation Office, State Police Auto Theft Task Force, T.E.A.M.S. Unit, K-9 Unit, and Strategic Investigations Unit Central with assistance from members of the United States Marshals NY/NJ Fugitive Task Force and Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office executed search warrants at the residences of Mickens and Sanchez, and at a motel in Avenel, N.J. where Sanchez was staying. As a result of the searches, detectives arrested Sanchez and Mickens and seized a 9mm handgun, a high-capacity magazine, key fobs, and electronic devices linked to the operation. Detectives later arrested Griggs at a residence in Newark and Lanier in a vehicle in Newark. Destiny Montalvo, 21, of Newark, N.J. was located at her residence and was arrested for conspiring to dispose of evidence.

Below: NJ State Police staging in Upper Freehold Township, it was unclear if this operation had anything to do with the bust mentioned.

The suspects were charged with the following:

Carlos Sanchez

• Leader of an auto theft trafficking network

• Conspiracy to commit theft

• Theft by unlawful taking

James Lanier

• Conspiracy to commit theft

• Theft by unlawful taking

• Burglary

Geovanni Hernandez

• Conspiracy to commit theft

• Burglary

• Theft

• Receiving stolen property

Solomon Mickens

• Conspiracy to commit theft

• Theft by unlawful taking

Sadiq Griggs

• Conspiracy to commit theft

Destiny Montalvo

• Tampering with physical evidence

All suspects were lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending a bail detention hearing. This case is being prosecuted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.


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