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Stolen cars believed to cost about $500,000 and $600,000 have been intercepted by US Customs and Border Protection officials at the New York and New Jersey ports in America.
The cars, which are believed to come from unsuspecting car owners across America, include Mercedes Benz, 2020 G-wagon, Range Rovers and other luxury vehicles, a CNBC report said.
New York Customs officer Dean Panzarino said the stolen cars were from states like Houston, Texas and Illinois and were meant to be sold overseas.
“Right here, I’m gonna say around ¢500,000 and ¢600,000 big money to be made,” he told CNBC’s Andrea Day.
The mode of operation is that these stolen cars are packed into shipping containers and sent to the ports in a tracker train, after which they have been exported to West African countries like Ghana to be sold for a hefty profit.
“This is the busiest seaport in the nation for recovery of stolen cars that have been exported. What we have is a container that was targeted most likely for possible flowing of cars. Right now, we see furniture but behind this wall, what we are looking at could be stolen cars,” he explained.
The containers intercepted, he said, was heading to West Africa.
Watch CNBC’s report below:
When asked the possible amount of cars the 40-ft container could contain by the reporter, Officer Panzarino replied, “normally you would see three at most, it’s like a kind of mouse game with the bad guys, the crooks and not scatting it going out.”
Reports indicate that legitimate companies are struggling with the rising cost of shipping in America while car thieves are overdriving at the export of stolen cars.
“During the pandemic, we actually saw an increase in stolen cars being exported,” the officer lamented.
Amid the global shipping crisis, criminals are still able to get stolen cars moved out of the ports.
According to the officer, the number of stolen cars has steadily risen from 2017-2020 at 50 per cent.
However, he said, “it costs more to ship it out because the price of shipping the containers quadrupled if not more. So what was $3000 pre-pandemic now they are paying probably $20,000 to $30,000 for exporter shipping container.”
Adding that “It’s costing them more money, but they are making more money, they get the cars for free.”
The US Customs and Border protection have indicated that there has been the proliferation of exports of stolen cars in the country.
The Agency reported last year that it recovered 1,082 stolen vehicles between October 2019 and September 2020.
Of those cars, 833 were destined overseas, with the majority (89 per cent) destined to West African nations, including Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.