EXCLUSIVE REPORT: Using bogus credit cards, a ring run by the owner of a vehicle leasing company dangerously trafficked hundreds of gallons of high-octane fuel in the back of vans between New Jersey and Brooklyn before Little Ferry police busted them, authorities told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Responding officers tipped off to a suspicious vehicle arrested six men – one of whom tried to run across the Hackensack River bridge into Ridgefield Park – and seized two Econoline vans filled with dozens of five-gallon containers, Little Ferry Police Chief Ralph Verdi said yesterday.
“Can you imagine what could have happened with all of those gas cans in each van?” Verdi asked. “Say they go over the George Washington Bridge on the lower level and there’s an incident — or even worse, in one of the tunnels?
The vans reeked of gasoline, the chief told CLIFFVIEW PILOT , adding that both vehicles had curtains strewn behind the front seats to hide the volatile cargo.
Selling the “high-test” gas isn’t difficult, Verdi said.
“Fly-by-night car services aren’t asking questions, especially when someone’s offering it for $2 or $3 a gallon,” he explained, adding that this apparently wasn’t their first trip.
Credit card companies have warned the owners of the Valero station on Route 46 in Little Ferry of fraudulent purchases in the past, Verdi said.
Around 3:25 a.m. Thursday, borough police got a call of a suspicious van at the station, he said. Responding officers found both vans, as well as the six men – one of whom took off running, the chief told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
As he headed across the Hackensack River bridge, the man tossed more than two dozen credit cards over the side, Verdi said.
Trouble was, he’d already reached the area of Ridgefield Park spanned by the bridge.
Ridgefield Park and Moonachie police teamed up to catch him and retrieve the cards on the ground below, the chief said. All bore information stolen from legitimate cardholders, he said.
The other five men – most of them Haitian nationals — were taken into custody at the scene, Verdi said. Police also seized both vans and $2,000 in cash.
Those arrested include Boubacar Diallo, 62, who Verdi said operates a vehicle leasing business in the city; Dominic Clarke and Billy Andres, both 20; Myers Compton, 42; Dorlous Loukens, 24; and Gedeon Alix, 41, all of Brooklyn.
All were being held on $50,000 bail each in the Bergen County Jail, charged with theft, conspiracy and fraudulent use of a credit card. Additional charges are likely, Verdi said.
“At least two of them don’t have green cards,” he said.
Police from California to North Carolina also have expressed interest in the crew following a series of credit card information thefts in their states, Verdi added.
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