Spotlight News 3/2/2015

Cargo Thieves in Italy Hijack Truck Carrying $2.2 Million of Luxury Clothing, Perfumes, and Bags

Police in northern Italy successfully recovered $2.2 million of luxury clothing, perfumes, and bags after a group of cargo thieves hijacked the vehicle. The hijacking occurred as the truck was entering a northbound highway near Sinthia in the Piedmont region of the country. The five armed thieves used their own van to block the path of the truck, smashed the windows, and forced the driver and his associate from the vehicle before tying them up.

The thieves drove the truck to Viverone, where they hooked the trailer up to a tractor stolen in Milan several days earlier. Police caught up to the thieves farther north near Albiano d’Ivrea. After a short chase, the hijacker driving the truck began running away on foot on escaped. A search for the cargo thieves is continuing.

Cargo Truck Drivers in Colombia Continue to Strike, Set to Resume Negotiations Today

Cargo truck drivers in Colombia are set to resume negotiations with the government over issues including the cost of diesel as drivers enter their eighth day of strikes. According to one trucking association, the first five days of the strike, which has seen close to 200,000 drivers participate, caused economic losses of about $34.5 million. In addition, officials in Ecuador are reporting a disruption of trade that is causing losses of approximately $600,000 per day. Protests continue to be concentrated in the departments of Antioquia, Caldas, Nariño, Casanare, Arauca, Valle, Risaralda, and Putumayo and are largely remaining peaceful. 

CBP Officers Seize 15 Tonnes of Marijuana Entering the United States Via Otay Mesa Border Crossing

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized a record-breaking 15 tonnes of marijuana within a shipment of mattresses. The seizure is the largest shipment of marijuana ever seized at the Otay Mesa border crossing, and the second largest seizure at any border crossing in the country. The majority of the vehicle was filled with marijuana, but a small number of mattresses were found in the front of the truck. The total value of the seizure is estimated at $18.96 million. The driver claimed he was offered $50,000 to smuggle the marijuana from Tijuana to Burbank, in California.

Officials in Israel Uncover Network Smuggling Prohibited Dual-Use Goods to Hamas, Four Businessmen Charged

Israel’s State Attorney Office indicted four businessmen in connection with a network that allegedly smuggled large quantities of prohibited dual-use goods to neighboring Gaza aboard cargo trucks. Officials allege that the businessmen conspired with a substantially larger smuggling network with ties to Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by the United States and other Western nations. The network reportedly sent registered Palestinian Arab merchants to purchase thousands of tonnes of commodities such as iron products, electrical and communications equipment, and construction materials in Israel and then trafficked the items into Gaza by hiding them among cargo truck consignments passing through the Kerem Shalom border crossing. The smuggled goods are considered dual-use products and are prohibited from export to Gaza, as authorities indicate they could be used in the construction of smuggling tunnels, training facilities, or materiel such as rockets or bombs.