N.J. Auto Theft Trafficking Leader Sentenced

September 20, 2005

New Jersey Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy announced that a Hudson County man has been sentenced to state prison for being the leader of an auto theft trafficking network operating out of Jersey City that was allegedly responsible for stealing dozens of high-end luxury automobiles.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Antonio Rodriguez-Baez, 30, of Jersey City, Hudson County, was ordered by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Peter Vasquez to serve four years in state prison and pay more than $123,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to being the leader of an automobile theft trafficking network. The charge was contained in an Aug. 19, 2004 indictment filed by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

At his April 22 guilty plea before Judge Vazquez, Rodriguez-Baez a/k/a “Tony,” Eladio Reyes, and/or Jaime Rodriguez, reportedly admitted that he was in the business of buying and selling stolen automobiles.

Specifically, Rodriguez-Baez admitted that from Aug. 30, 2002 through Jan. 9, 2004, he possessed numerous stolen vehicles, including a 2000 Mercedes-Benz, a 2001 Mercedes-Benz, a 2004 Cadillac Escalade, and two 2002 Mercedes-Benz.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice – Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Rodriguez-Baez also ran an automobile re-tagging operation, which removed and/or replaced Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) in order to re-sell or transport the vehicles out of state.

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