Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement today announced an arrest in connection to a cargo theft ring that stole semi-trucks and trailers with various cargo from areas in Georgia and Florida. The stolen property included beer, energy drinks, refrigerators and power tools, totaling more than a million dollars in losses.
“Members of this multistate theft ring are charged with stealing more than a million dollars’ worth of cargo, and then illegally selling the property,” said Attorney General Bondi. “Thanks to the great collaboration between my Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, stolen goods have been recovered and those responsible will be held accountable.”
“Our investigation uncovered a massive cargo theft ring operating in multiple states,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “I’m pleased with the work of our agents in dismantling this theft ring and recovering over a million dollars’ worth of stolen items.”
Authorities today arrested William Shepard Ellison, 70, owner of Shep’s Chicken and Auction House and Shep’s Discount Store. According to the investigation, three defendants stole semi-trucks, trailers and cargo and transported the property to Ellison’s two Jacksonville businesses. Ellison then allegedly offered the stolen property for sale. Authorities served search warrants for both businesses and Ellison’s home that resulted in the seizure of thousands of stolen items.
Two additional defendants involved with this operation are in custody and one defendant is still at large. Pedro Fernandez Hernandez, 47, is currently in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections; Lewis Dominguez, 33, is currently in federal custody on unrelated charges; and Juan Carlos Castaneda Quintana, 45, of Broward County, remains at large.
The defendants face a range of charges including racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and grand theft. The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute this case. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the case.