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Man sentenced to federal prison for hijacking interstate freight shipment


A Texas man has been sentenced to prison after he admitted to stealing a large load of electronics.

On April 6, Houston resident Maksims Klopovs was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to a count of theft from an interstate cargo shipment in January 2021. Klopovs must also serve three years of supervised release after he is released from prison.

At the hearing, the court heard Klopovs had entered the United States less than 60 days before his arrest. However, in that short time, he had already been involved in at least three similar freight hijackings in the Houston area. As part of the scheme, Klopovs created and used at least 12 fraudulent ID cards and rented multiple storage units to store the hijacked goods until they could be sold. The court determined the value of the goods involved in the four hijackings was in excess of $400,000,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote in a news release.

Klopovs was arrested following a June 17, 2019, cargo heist during which he stole a shipment of approximately $100,000 worth of computers headed for a college in Corpus Christi.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office detailed the scheme:

After the shipment left the warehouse in Illinois, someone had changed the delivery instructions using an online system. Rather than deliver it directly to Del Mar College, the shipping company was asked to hold the load at their Corpus Christi warehouse for pickup.

Del Mar College did not request the change.

Klopovs arrived at the warehouse driving a rented U-Haul truck. He presented a fraudulent Texas driver’s license bearing his photo, but with the name Martin Smith. He also showed what was determined to be a fraudulent Del Mar College ID card with the title of Operations Manager also bearing his photograph and with the Smith name. He also had a Del Mar College business card in the name of Martin Smith.

Authorities arrested him after he claimed the shipment and began to load the electronics into the rental truck.

“This individual brazenly hijacked an interstate freight shipment of computer and electronic equipment that was destined for students at a local university,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brad Scott of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “Using the unique investigative authorities that HSI possesses we were able to disrupt his scheme and work with prosecutors to put him in federal prison.”


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