Ridgewood resident Clayton Delgado was indicted last month for stealing 17 cars and selling them on Craigslist and to friends and family members. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to the charges and faces up to nine years in state prison.
According to District Attorney Richard Brown, Delgado was the ringleader of an auto theft ring that stole cars—including expensive models such as an Audi Q7, a BMW and a Subaru. Prosecutors allege Delgado “tagged” the vehicles—changing vehicle identification numbers and registering them with “washed” titles before selling them.
Two others charged in the case, Christian Soto, 26, and Raymond Soto, 20, both of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty on March 8 to criminal possession of stolen property. They face up to three years in prison.
Five others, including Ramon Mercado, 34, Melissa Marrero, 18, Israel Mercado, 24, and Michael Curiel, 20, all from Brooklyn and Ashley Soto, 21, of Howard Beach were charged.
Anthony Perez, 22, of Pennsylvania and Manuel Rivera, 29, of Virginia are wanted in connection to the auto thefts.
“Auto theft is a serious crime that greatly affects the quality of life for the residents of Queens and it will not be tolerated,” said Brown. “When I first took office, there were some 52,000 cars stolen in Queens County. Last year we were at just a little more than 3,400 cars stolen—a decrease of more than 90 percent.”