On May 5, 2023, Governor Newsom announced the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force (ORCTF)—expanded by the Governor in 2022—along with CHP investigators assigned to the Cargo Theft Interdiction Program, conducted a statewide enforcement operation targeting a criminal operation believed to be responsible for over $150 million in stolen merchandise. CHP’s operation led to the arrest of 40 suspects, the recovery of over $50 million in stolen merchandise, the recovery of 20 stolen cargo trailers, and the seizure of several vehicles, multiple firearms including ghost guns, over $550,000, and 13 gold bars.
“This large-scale enforcement operation is part of CHP’s everyday work to keep our residents, communities, and businesses safe,” Newsom said. “I’m grateful for all the men and women who helped shut down this criminal operation and get dangerous firearms and stolen merchandise off our streets.”
“This team has worked tirelessly to unravel this complex case,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “I continue to be impressed by the dedication and commitment put forth daily by our officers and investigators. Their efforts help make California a safer place to live and work.”
The case originated in March 2022, and resulted in CHP conducting over 50 targeted operations involving multiple surveillance teams, undercover officers, arrests, and the authoring and serving of several search warrants. The suspects are believed to be responsible for the theft of more than 200 cargo loads, valued at over $150 million. Major retailers are among the victims of the thefts investigated. The suspects involved are facing several felony charges involving conspiracy to commit grand theft, grand theft of cargo, vehicle theft, and identity theft.
In the last year, Governor Newsom invested more than $241.4 million to bolster law enforcement efforts to address organized retail theft and other crimes, and support affected businesses.