Toronto police have arrested almost 20 people in connection to a sophisticated international car theft and smuggling ring.
Police said the operation involved car shipment employees in Ontario replicating vehicle identification numbers, acquiring key codes, and accessing personal ownership information through the Service Ontario database to locate newly purchased vehicles.
Police said thieves would then locate the vehicles and use forged keys to steal them and eventually ship them overseas to Nigeria and Ghana.
Police said the investigation, nicknamed Project CBG, began in early 2015 after they noticed a rash of high-end vehicle thefts in the Toronto area.
The ring targetted high end vehicles throughout the GTA and police say they stole up to 500 SUV’s in the Toronto area.
They say the thefts amounted to 10-15% of the total volume of vehicles stolen in Toronto this year.
The total value of the stolen vehicles is an estimated $30 million.
A series of raids were conducted yesterday and 18 people were arrested in connection to the busts and 6 more are wanted in connection to the ring
A total of 200 vehicles were seized in containers headed for Nigeria and Ghana. The estimated value of those vehicles is $11 million.
Police say the organization was linked to a group known as the “Black Axe” in Africa
18 arrested yesterday, 6 more wanted in warrants.
Police said the 18 accused face a total of 640 criminal charges.