By Edwin Folven, 4/05/2012
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Outbound Enforcement Team (OET) in Los Angeles have intercepted and recovered 20 stolen vehicles bound for Hong Kong and Vietnam.
The vehicles, falsely manifested for shipping as “used fitness equipment,” have a combined estimated value of $1.5 million. CBP officers discovered that smugglers, using false identities, leased or purchased the brand new vehicles, defrauding several local dealerships and financial and insurance companies.
“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, CBP director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.
The recovered vehicles will be turned over to state authorities for return to rightful owners. In 2011, CBP officers seized 61 vehicles and 49 engines heading overseas. Twenty-four were stolen, 73 were undeclared, seven were undervalued and six had fraudulent documents. They were valued at $1.8 million.