August 18, 2005

Train Burglary Arrests

National Park News
Mojave National Preserve

On August 5th, a Budget rental box truck was observed parked two miles from the Union Pacific Railroad tracks near Cima, California, within the park. Rangers Kirk Gebicke and Joe Spillane contacted the two men, Alejandrio Zamudio and Alfredo Cienfugo-Benitez, seated in the truck.

They determined that the men had been drinking and that their reasons for being parked in the area did not add up. The two men gave the rangers permission to search the vehicle, which proved to be empty.

While a computer check was being run on the pair, ranger Wayne Dingman found a bindle of cocaine four feet from the point where Cienfugo-Benitez had thrown it into the roadside grass. Both men were arrested.

The rangers consulted with Union Pacific special agents and found that the duo had possibly been involved in thefts from trains and were in the park to collect stolen property.

The two men were turned over to Union Pacific police for follow-up interviews, then taken to jail.

A ground and aerial search of the railroad tracks the next day led to the discovery of 75 stolen television sets that had been thrown from a train. The estimated value is in excess of $225,000.

Rangers and UP special agents watched the property throughout the night to see if other gang members would return for the property, but without results.