NEWARK — State Police detectives from the Cargo Theft Unit arrested two men and recovered more than 23,000 counterfeited DVD movies and music CDs during the execution of a search warrant Friday in Newark, authorities announced today.
Lonnie Hill, 35, of Irvington and Lamie Diallo, 29, of Bronx, N.Y., were processed at Newark State Police Barracks on charges involving the sale and distribution of pirated films, some of which are still playing at theaters.
Troopers and agents from the NJ Department of Treasury, Office of Criminal Investigation, along with experts from the film and entertainment industry, executed a search warrant at 186 Market Street hoping to find a large supply of the illegal disks. They found that the third floor was accessible only after being buzzed in through a video-monitored door. Once inside, investigators found the entire floor filled with boxes of titles ready for sale.
“The pirating and mass distribution of unauthorized copies of DVD movies and music CDs is an illicit international industry which generates big profits for the criminals involved,” said Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa. “With this raid, we have shut down a major distribution hub for pirated movies and music.”
“This is one of many counterfeit goods operations that the New Jersey State Police have put out of business lately. Not only does this activity rob legitimate U.S. companies of profit, but money from the sale of fake goods across the country has sometimes been connected with the funding of terrorist activity,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
Diallo had arrived at the brick building Friday morning with a delivery of more than 2,000 packaged disks. Hill allegedly is a primary operator of the illegal third floor business. The location served as a distribution hub to a number of street vendors who purchase titles cheap and then resell them to the public. “War Horse,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Underworld Awakening” and “Contraband” are some of the current movies seized. Initial estimates value the disks at more than $200,000, authorities said.
Diallo and Hill were both charged with possession of counterfeit merchandise. Additionally, Hill was charged with possession of prescription legend drugs when he was found to have 60 tubes of suspected testosterone. Diallo was released pending court and Hill was lodged in Essex County Jail in default of $150,000 full cash bail. The arrests and charges resulted from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Cargo Theft Unit working with the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.
The complaints filed against the defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Because the charges are indictable offenses, they will be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment.
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