DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico

For Immediate Release

Thursday, January 5, 2023
Alexander M.M. Uballez
, United States Attorney

Michigan Man Indicted for Setting Fire to Nine Commercial Trailers in New Mexico

Viorel Pricop Is Alleged To Have Started 25 Fires Across the Country

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Brendan Iber, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announced that a federal grand jury on Dec. 20 indicted Viorel Pricop on nine counts of arson.

Pricop, 64, of Allen Park, Michigan, is currently in custody in the Central District of California, where Pricop is charged with arson.

According to a criminal complaint, Pricop allegedly set fire to 25 semi-truck trailers owned by Swift Transportation, a trucking company based in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to the nine fires in New Mexico, Pricop allegedly is responsible for fires in California, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama. On Dec. 21, Pricop was indicted in the District of Arizona on three counts of arson.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Pricop faces up to 10 years in prison.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Jack E. Burkhead is prosecuting the case for the District of New Mexico.

Phoenix Field Division