Wilmington, Delaware - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized a stolen 2018 Cadillac Escalade, valued at more than $57,000 at the Port of Wilmington, September 25.
CBP officers recently seized this 2018
Cadillac Escalade, reported stolen in
North Carolina and destined to Togo.
This recovery was one of a record 16 stolen vehicles that CBP officers at the Port of Wilmington seized during fiscal year 2019, which ended on September 30. The combined value of the stolen vehicles is $454,007, also a CBP Port record.
CBP officers routinely examine outbound vehicle shipments and encountered the Escalade destined for Togo in West Africa on September 1. Officers discovered that the Escalade’s visible vehicle identification number (VIN) belonged to a 2018 Mercedes Benz and detained the vehicle for a thorough examination.
Officers were able to trace the Escalade’s true VIN to a stolen vehicle report from Charlotte, N.C. Additionally, Officers confirmed with Minnesota authorities that the vehicle’s state title that was presented with the export documents was fraudulent.
CBP routinely inspects imported and exported international cargo to search for weapons, illicit narcotics, bulk currency, counterfeit consumer products, and other prohibited items, and to ensure that new and used vehicles, boats, campers and farm machinery comply with existing U.S. laws. See CBP guidance for Exporting a Motor Vehicle.
“Export examinations are a critical component of Customs and Border Protection’s trade enforcement and border security missions because we know that transnational criminal organizations use stolen vehicles as currency and hide other illicit financial proceeds in outbound cargo,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office. “CBP officers remain committed to intercepting these illegal exports and striking back financially against criminal groups who hurt U.S. consumers through auto theft and other unlawful practices.”
The 16 recovered stolen vehicles eclipsed the Port’s previous high of seven stolen vehicle recoveries from 2012. All but two of these stolen vehicles were being shipped to nations in West Africa.
Among the more notable recoveries:
- 2016 Lexus LX 570, valued at nearly $70,000, which was stolen in Georgia and destined for Nigeria when officers seized it September 23;
- 2017 Audi R8, valued at about $163,000, which was stolen in Maryland and destined to Togo when officers seized it October 28, 2018;
- 2017 Mercedes Benz S550, valued at about $59,000, which was stolen in Washington, D.C., and destined to Togo when officers seized it October 28, 2018;
CBP officers turned all seized stolen vehicles over to local police.