EXCLUSIVE: A commercial truck driver from North Bergen who said he participated in a three-county cargo theft ring to support his five children was sentenced to six years in state prison yesterday.
Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi told Mohammed Nazzal, 38, that he’s in for an even greater hardship once he is released because the state will likely revoke his commercial driver’s license.
Still, the judge provided some leniency to Nazzal, who faced up to eight years behind bars under a plea deal with the state Attorney General’s Office for his role in a ring that stole 2,380 carpets worth nearly $500,000 from a Little Ferry company and $250,000 in designer clothing from another in Passaic.
Operating between December 2010 and August 2011, the crew also hit businesses and trailers in Carlstadt, Garfield and North Bergen and then fenced the stolen goods, state prosecutors out of Trenton said.
“You come from a family that tried to teach you the correct things in life, hard work,” DeAvila-Silebi told Nazzal yesterday. However, she said, he got money “another way.”
At the same time, the judge noted that it was Nazzal’s first offense.
“I do take into account that you have five children, all under the age of 18, and this will cause hardship to your family,” DeAvila-Silebi said. “Due to your current financial situation, your father supports your children.”
She also cited Nazzal’s cooperation.
Nazzal, who had remained free on $50,000 since a month after his October 2011 arrest, was allowed to spend the July 4th holiday with his family. He must surrender on Monday to begin serving his prison term.
STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter