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January 7, 2021Corpus Christi, TX, United StatesFinancial Crimes

Houston man admits to hijacking interstate freight shipment, following ICE investigation

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 22-year-old Houston man pleaded guilty to theft from an interstate cargo shipment Thursday in the Southern District of Texas.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Maksims Klopovs admitted he was to be paid for picking up a large load of electronics originally set for delivery to a college in Corpus Christi.

HSI’s investigation revealed that 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 might be stolen.

After the shipment left the warehouse in Illinois, someone had changed the delivery instructions 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.

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.

Klopovs claimed the shipment and began to load the electronics into the rental truck. Authorities then took him into custody.

Klopovs is scheduled to be sentenced on April 6. At that time, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. He remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. is prosecuting the case.