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CBP Recovers 20 Stolen High-End Vehicles In Los Angeles

April 04, 2012  | 

Federal customs agents recovered a stolen 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia at Los Angeles' port. Photo: USCBP
Federal customs agents recovered a stolen 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia at Los Angeles' port. Photo: USCBP

Federal customs agents uncovered 20 high-end stolen vehicles bound for Asia inside shipping containers that had been listed on the shipping manifest as "used fitness equipment."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered the mostly leased vehicles, after a Southern California car rental company became suspicious when a GPS device in a 2010 Ferrari showed the vehicle at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport.

The CBP's Outbound Enforcement Team recovered the stolen vehicles that were bound for Hong Kong and Vietnam. The vehicles, which had a combined value of $1.5 million, included a 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia and other luxury brands such as BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, and Audi. The Ferrari is valued at $280,000.

Smugglers used false identities to acquire the vehicles, defrauding several local dealerships, financing companies, and vehicle insurers, Jamie Ruiz, CBP spokesman, told POLICE Magazine.

"This is an extremely important discovery and it once again demonstrates the alertness and attention to duty CBP officers practice every day," said Todd C. Owen, the CBP's director of field operations in Los Angeles, "In addition to protecting the homeland from terrorists and their weapons, CBP officers are also charged with ensuring that our citizens do not lose their property to international thieves."

The California Highway Patrol has taken over the investigation, and so far no arrests have been made.

So far in fiscal year 2011, CBP agents at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport have seized 61 vehicles and 49 engines heading overseas. Of that total, 24 were stolen, 73 were undeclared, seven were undervalued and six had fraudulent documents.

Tags: Smuggling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Special Agents


Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

Tschako @ 4/5/2012 11:35 PM

What "alertness and attention to duty" from CPB agents?? They were called by the car rental company who were alert enough to watch their GPS.

Dan @ 4/6/2012 7:00 AM

Tschako: My thoughts, exactly!! That will probably earn them extra $ in the money games.

Random @ 4/6/2012 7:36 AM

Morel of this story. GPS and low-jack are worth the price.

john @ 4/6/2012 8:19 AM

With the ports being the most vulerable access point in/out of this country, you would think agencies would dedicate enough personnel to check more on an ongoing basis before someone ships in a nuke. That scenerio and the shipping of cars has been in a couple of movies already. Time to catch up enforcement with Hollywood.

Dennis McNulty @ 4/6/2012 10:13 AM

If you have never seen the container ports at either Long Beach or the LA docks, they are huge with hundreds of thousands of shipping containers coming in & out. I'm thinking CBP & CHP FEAR teams are doing the best they can. As for adding manpower, well, that's up to management as usual...

jim @ 4/9/2012 4:42 PM

If CBP wasn't dumb they would have set up a sting to make an arrest instead of just recover them and give away the fact they know its going on now. Good job in doing nothing helpful, we could have sent cadets to go open the containers and inventory the cars, next time get an arrest!!!

Jack @ 4/10/2012 3:22 PM

CBP did a great job recovering these vehicles. I am sure there was alot of investigation and work done tracking these stolen cars. as for arrests, I am sure they are coming, its just a matter of time.

Jack @ 4/10/2012 3:22 PM

CBP did a great job recovering these vehicles. I am sure there was alot of investigation and work done tracking these stolen cars. as for arrests, I am sure they are coming, its just a matter of time.

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