Man faces arson charges in Swift trailer fires

December 29, 2022

Land Line Staff

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A Michigan man has been indicted for setting fire to Swift Transportation commercial trailers in Arizona.

These indictments are added on top of other arson indictments in California.

Viorel Pricop, 64, of Allen Park, Mich., has been indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of for arson of property in interstate commerce in Arizona.

The Arizona indictment alleges that Pricop set fire to two commercial semi-truck trailers near Willcox, Ariz., on Feb. 7 and one commercial semitrailer near Holbrook, Ariz., on March 1, according to a statement issued by the District of Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office

The fires damaged the trailers and cargo. All three trailers were owned by Phoenix-based Swift Transportation.

Pricop is in federal custody in the Central District of California. He was indicted there on Nov. 9, on six counts of arson of property in interstate commerce. He allegedly set fire to Swift Transportation trailers in San Bernadino and Riverside counties.

Swift filed an affidavit in the California case stating that 25 of its trailers had been set on fire while stopped at fuel stations or rest areas from June 2020 through September 2022, according to InsuranceJournal.com. The affidavit said that a GPS navigation device installed in a commercial truck owned and operated by Pricop was present at the fires, and a cellphone used by Pricop was present near 24 of the 25 fires. The fires happened at locations from Barstow, Calif., to McCalla, Ala., with most occurring along I-10 and I-40.

A conviction for arson of property in interstate commerce carries a minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

An indictment means a person has been charged with criminal activity but may not be guilty. An individual is presumed innocent until evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant United States attorneys Sarah B. Houston and Benjamin Goldberg, District of Arizona, are handling the prosecution. LL

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