• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Canadian police smash Nigerian, Ghanaian car theft syndicate

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Last December 2015, the Canadian Police smashed a car theft syndicate in the Greater Toronto Area believed to have stolen no fewer than 500 high-end vehicles this year alone. The syndicate, which, according to Gateway Mail, a Toronto-based online newspaper, is made up of Nigerians, Ghanaians and others, was smashed by the Toronto Police recently in an operation codenamed Operation CBG.
Gateway Mail reports that three Nigerians (names withheld) were among the syndicate members said to have stolen exotic cars valued at over $30 million (N4.35 billion), with some of the cars shipped to the Tin Can Island port in Lagos, Nigeria and sold without proper documentation, while other were “re-VINned” (given a fraudulent Vehicle Identification Number), registered and used by members of the syndicate or sold to unsuspecting buyers.
The report added that 18 members of the gang, which included shippers, freight forwarders, a Service Ontario staff, truck drivers, offloading employees at rail yards, and locksmiths, have already been arrested while others are still at large.
“The Toronto Police Service would like to make the public aware of an ongoing investigation. PROJECT CBG was an investigation into the theft of high-end vehicles within the Greater Toronto Area. The targeted vehicles were the Acura MDX, Lexus and Toyota SUV,” Gateway Mail quoted the Toronto Police as saying in a statement issued last Friday.
Acting deputy police chief noted that the estimated value of each of the stolen car ranges between $60,000 (N8.6 million) and $80,000 (N11.6 million).
According to Rainer, “It became apparent that this was more than some petty thieves hot-wiring cars. In fact, investigators began to uncover evidence of a sophisticated organised crime ring with international reach specialised in stealing high-end vehicles such as Lexus, Acura and high-end Toyota vehicles.”
He disclosed that the police have so far recovered 200 vehicles valued at $11 million (N1.59 billion), saying the gang was responsible for between 10 to 15 percent of series of vehicles stolen in Toronto alone this year.
The report said the police also recovered 10 suspected stolen vehicles, motors and parts, two tractor-trailers, keys, computers and electronic accessories, three long-guns and magazines, heroin and cocaine when search warrants were served on some members of the gang.
About 50 officers were said to have been involved in the investigation, with the assistance and partnerships of other law enforcement agencies such as the Halton Regional Police Service, Peel Regional Police, York Regional Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian National Police, Canada Border Services Agency, the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the United States Department of Homeland Security.