Weavers who steal American freight and ship it overseas to make their living may be able to avoid prosecution in some states.
The U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division announced Thursday it will file charges against two weavers in Oregon for stealing about 1,000 boxes of freight from the Port of Eugene in Oregon and then shipping it back to New York.
The theft occurred over a five-year period beginning in 2008 and ended with a guilty plea by a man who was sentenced to five years in prison in 2012.
According to the federal indictment, the two men are charged with three counts of mail fraud, one count of transportation fraud and two counts of receiving stolen goods.
The indictment says that the men conspired to steal shipments worth about $300,000 from Eugene, Oregon and shipped them to New Jersey and then to Chicago.
The men are accused of using the Oregon and Illinois shipping companies to ship the cargo across state lines and then illegally resell the goods.
They were caught in 2016 when authorities in both states noticed the mail had been shipped through a Chicago-area shipping company.
The Justice Department said it is investigating the theft as part of a broader investigation.
The investigation was launched after a tip-off from Oregon officials.
“The Department is committed to pursuing all allegations of mail-in-fraud in the federal courts and to pursuing the perpetrators of this fraud,” Assistant Attorney General Stuart G. Blum wrote in a news release.