Los Angeles–U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers assigned to the Outbound Enforcement Team (OET) at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport complex recovered 23 stolen high-end vehicles, consisting of 11 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 and 12 Land Rover Range Rover bound for China.
OET officers discovered the stolen vehicles ready for exportation while conducting an outreach operation at two major Southern California vehicle export facilities, in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
NICB participated by verifying the compiled list of the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)s with the financial institutions then CHP initiated the C180 stolen report as liens/loans were discovered unsatisfied by the financial institution on all these vehicles. The estimated combined value of the recovered vehicles is $1,885,415.00.
At any given day, CBP officers at the LA/Long Beach Seaport process 700 to 1,200 vehicles for exportation. While the vast majority complies with federal and state regulation, there is a global black market where foreign individuals are willing to pay a premium for desired luxury brands and vintage models regardless of importation fraud schemes.
“As one of our critical missions, CBP commits substantial resources to outbound enforcement, and as a result our officers are keen in detecting, intercepting and seizing illegal goods and cargo,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, CBP LA/Long Beach Seaport Port Director. “I’m extremely proud of the officers involved and pleased with the result of this operation”.
Processed individually, CBP turned over the recovered vehicles to state authorities for further investigation and return to rightful owners.
In fiscal year 2018, CBP at Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport seized 66 vehicles heading overseas. Of that total: 40 stolen, 11 with odometer rollback, five undervalued, six had fraudulent documents, one concealing weapons/arms and three unlicensed/military vehicles. Total value of fiscal year 2018 seizures is $4.3million.