SAN FRANCISCO, November 26, (THEWILL) – Officials in Toronto, Baltimore and New York said they have intercepted over 900 stolen vehicles bound to be exported to Nigeria, Ghana and other West African countries.
A statement by York and Toronto police said they made a “large” recovery of 73 stolen cars worth more $4.5 million in a joint investigation with the Canada Border Services Agency.
Before the recovery, investigators said 32 stolen vehicles have already been shipped overseas to either Ghana or Nigeria.
The investigation, Police said began in September 2020, when authorities became aware of a gang of thieves allegedly targeting Lexus, Toyota and Honda cars and operating out of a location on Kitimat Rd., Mississauga.
The Toronto Police Service Auto Theft Suppression Unit and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), were involved in the investigation.
Investigators were able to identify four persons involved in the theft and trafficking of vehicles and have made multiple arrests and laid charges.
They are Abu Sadiq Ayi, 41; Michael Atta, 32; Prince Boateng, 42; and David Ansong 40 — all of Toronto.
A statement by Sergeant Andy Pattenden of York Police, said that the men are being charged with “trafficking in property obtained by crime over $5,000; theft of motor vehicle over $5,000; possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000; possession of automobile master key; and theft of motor vehicle.”
Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner said “auto theft is of huge concern to police”. “And we’re actively involved in investigations and targeting groups that are involved in these particular crimes.
“They’re organized crime groups and they’re going out and stealing these vehicles and, in a lot of cases, they’re being put in containers and shipped off to other countries. And we’re finding more and more of this is taking place. Money drives a lot of these crimes.
“Our investigators have been working tirelessly to identify those responsible for the many thefts of high-end vehicles in York Region”, York Regional Police Chief, Jim MacSween added.
In Baltimore United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Baltimore field office have also busted a car theft syndicate. They stopped 157 stolen cars from being shipped overseas during the past fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020).
The Baltimore Field Office ranks second in the number of vehicles intercepted during that time. Only the New York field office recovered more.
About 37 of the vehicles were stolen from Maryland. 16 others were stolen from Virginia. The total value of the vehicles was $4,876,000.
Nationally, the Office of Field Operations recovered 1,082 stolen vehicles, of which 833 were destined overseas.
Most of the vehicles were being shipped to African countries of Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
The most expensive recovered stolen vehicle was a 2019 Land Rover Range Rover, it was destined for Guinea. The newest vehicle recovered was a 2020 Maserati Ghibli valued at $78,485.