Guilty plea in hijacking case lands man 30-month prison sentence

April 8, 2021

Land Line Staff

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A 22-year-old Latvian man living in Houston has been sentenced to federal prison after hijacking a load of electronics originally set for delivery to a Texas college, according to a news release from federal prosecutors.

Maksims Klopovs pleaded guilty on Jan. 4 and was sentenced on April 6 by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos.

Klopovs is ordered to serve a 30-month sentence, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in hijacking at least four shipments of goods valued in excess of $400,000.

At the hearing, the court heard Klopovs had legally 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, prosecutors stated.

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.

On June 17, 2019, authorities suspected a shipment of approximately $100,000 worth of computers and other electronics bound for Del Mar College in Corpus Christi.

Authorities said after the shipment left the warehouse in Illinois the delivery instructions were changed 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.

According to the release, 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. Klopovs will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility. LL

Read more about how to protect your load from hijacking in Land Line Magazine here.

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