A man accused of being involved in "a complex international fencing operation" — which allegedly saw high-value bicycles stolen from homes in San Francisco, disassembled and transported to Mexico for resale — has appeared in court facing related charges that carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
The U.S Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California confirmed that Victoriano Romero has been charged with one count of conspiracy to transport goods in foreign commerce, carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and two counts of transportation of stolen goods in foreign commerce, carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years per count.
The charges relate to a spate of night-time burglaries in San Francisco between April 2020 and April 2021, high-end bikes worth between $3,000 and $9,000 targeted, including a Cervélo C3, Serotta Titanium, and Bulls Grinder Evo.
The indictment alleges that Romero was involved in the "scheme to steal high-end performance bicycles from residents in the Bay Area and transport the bicycles to Mexico for resale".
It alleges that the stolen bicycles were taken to the 53-year-old's automotive shop in San Jose, where pictures were taken, they were disassembled and packaged for delivery, a co-conspirator in Jalisco, Mexico, receiving the stolen bikes for resale.
The co-conspirator allegedly used a virtual private network (VPN) during Facebook sales to ensure only people in Mexico could see the adverts. The indictment describes how the co-conspirator rebuilt the bikes and maintained financial accounts detailing profits from selling the bicycles, from which it is alleged Mr Romero received a share.
"In sum, Romero is charged with one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods in foreign commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 2314, and two counts of transportation of stolen goods in foreign commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2," the U.S Attorney's Office confirmed.
"The maximum statutory penalty for the conspiracy charge is five years in prison. The maximum statutory penalty for the substantive transportation charges is 10 years, per count. In addition, as part of any sentence, the court could order defendant to serve an additional term of supervised release to begin after a prison term, additional fines, and restitution, if appropriate."
The defendant appeared in federal court this week for an initial proceeding and has been released on bond to reappear before the court on 10 April 2024.
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Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.