Man pleads guilty to charges in Georgia cargo theft

A Georgia man pleaded guilty June 3 to three criminal charges for his role in a multimillion-dollar interstate cargo theft ring.

John Raymond “Johnny Ray” Smith Jr., 50, of Mableton, Ga., faces up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 17.

Smith pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy; a count of buying, receiving and possessing goods stolen from an interstate cargo shipment; and a count of money laundering while taking part in the theft of $3 million in cargo over a four-year period.

Investigators are reportedly still looking for co-conspirators.

The ring targeted retail shipments for Office Depot, Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy, stealing from trucks parked at motels, truck stops, rest areas and storage facilities, according to court papers. Stolen items included electronics, cigarettes and sewing machines.

According to court records, Smith and others over a 5-year period bought stolen goods and sold them through retail facilities he operated in warehouses in Georgia.

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