2 arrested in international stolen car export scheme

Detroit, Michigan - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested two people in Detroit late Tuesday for their alleged role in a scheme to ship stolen cars to destinations in West Africa. The arrests follow a year-long probe by HSI, the Macomb Auto Theft Squad, the Clinton Township Police and the Wayne County Action Task Force.

Special agents and officers arrested Adams Amen, 29, of Ghana, and Ayeesha Amen, 37, of Detroit, without incident late Tuesday at an east side residence. Two stolen vehicles were seized at the residence. Both suspects are in state custody on possession of stolen vehicle charges after being arraigned in 36th District Court Wednesday afternoon.

Adams Amen, a national of Ghana, entered the country legally on a tourist visa in May.

In May 2013, HSI special agents developed information that identified an organized scheme by the pair to allegedly use stolen identities and credit cards to obtain vehicles from auto dealerships throughout the United States and then quickly ship them to buyers primarily in Ghana before unsuspecting dealers could detect the fraud and report the vehicles stolen.

According to the investigation, certain members of the criminal organization, led by Adams Amen, are suspected in transactions involving at least a dozen cars. Once the cars were purchased, Ayesha Amen would take delivery and subsequently coordinate shipment to West Africa.

If convicted, both face up to 10 years in prison. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

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