Courier found with stolen packages pleads not guilty

The packages were valued at $16,500

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) - The 33-year-old man accused of stealing Amazon packages that should have been delivered to customers entered a not guilty plea to a three-count indictment.

Heriberto Villarino-Zamora appeared in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Tuesday and was arraigned on the indictment that was filed Dec. 29, 2017.

According to a search warrant affidavit, detectives with the Portland Police Bureau were working a concentrated mission on people selling suspected stolen property on the website "OfferUp."

Detectives found a subject who had posted a very large amount of brand new, in box, merchandise for sale.

Detectives reached out to the individual and offered to pay $1,700 for all of the items that were being offered for sale. The seller, through text messages with police, countered and requested $1,800.

The seller agreed to meet with the person he thought would be the buyer at a bank in Gresham.

At the bank, a man showed up in a Mini Cooper that was stacked to the ceiling with merchandise. Another Mini Cooper pulled into the parking lot. The vehicle was also filled to the ceiling with items.

The undercover detective asked the man who showed up where he had gotten all of the items and, "he said he just gets things and has friends."

"I told him to be real with me as I am not dumb," the detective wrote in a search warrant affidavit. "I asked if people were grabbing packages off porches and he then told me that he has friends who work for Amazon..."

The man, who went by the first name of "Jorge," claimed that he and his friends were making $25,000 a month.

Police eventually arrested "Jorge" and took him in for an interview. During that interview, police learned of Villarino-Zamora's involvement.

Police went to Villarino-Zamora's townhome in Gresham where they found more packages inside the residence, according to court documents.

During the investigation, police learned that Amazon has the ability to track packages electronically and that Villarino-Zamora was a contract delivery driver for the company.

Villarino-Zamora's job was contracted through a third party, and not Amazon itself, according to police records.

Police also learned that Villarino-Zamora's brother had been a contract driver for Amazon.

Of the items that were found inside the Mini Coopers, most were expensive electronic items, according to court documents.

During a search of the Villarino-Zamora residence, police found a portfolio that had $9,000 in cash, Villarino-Zamora's wallet and his passport. They also found more than 200 items that were either still in the original Amazon shipping packaging or still in the original brand-new box, records show. Some of the packaging had address labels removed or torn off.

Police have identified at least 300 victims throughout Oregon, according to court documents.

Villarino-Zamora's criminal defense attorney said he was not authorized to comment on the case.

A spokesperson for OfferUp was looking into the matter.

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