NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A Michigan man has been arrested for a cross-country arson spree that included more than two dozen semi-truck fires in at least eight states including New Mexico. Federal investigators believe truck driver Viorel Pricop was retaliating against his former employer Swift Transportation.
Over the last two years, they say he set at least 25 Swift trailers on fire between California and Alabama. They say they were mostly at truck stops and rest areas along the I-10 and I-40 corridors.
Nine of those were in New Mexico starting at a TA Travel Center in Santa Rosa in June 2020. The fires continued in the following months at truck stops in Moriarty, Jamestown, Tucumcari, and Deming, then two in Lordsburg in one night, and another two in Tucumcari in February 2022.
A GPS navigation device installed in a commercial truck owned and operated by Pricop was present at the fires and a cellphone used by Pricop was present near 24 of the 25 fires according to officials. They say search warrants on Pricop’s vehicle and home turned up logbooks, bills of lading, shipping receipts, and other records coinciding with locations where the fires occurred. So far, he is charged with just one count of arson for a fire in California.