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Customs and Border Protection set Baltimore area record for stolen car recoveries

Customs and Border Protection officers working at Ports of Entry under the Baltimore Field Office set a record for recovering stolen vehicles being exported out of the United States during 2019 with 246 recoveries. During 2018, officers at the Ports of Baltimore, Wilmington, Del. And Philadelphia recovered a combined 129 stolen vehicles.
Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Baltimore often see stolen vehicles packed or concealed inside shipping containers, like this Mercedes Benz ML350, destined to West Africa.
Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Wilmington examine a 2016 Lexus LX570 destined to Nigeria.
The oldest stolen vehicle CBP officers recovered in Baltimore was a 1988 Mack dump truck, destined to West Africa.
Posted at 3:28 PM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 15:33:35-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Baltimore based Field Office has set a record in recovering stolen vehicles leaving the country.

Seaports under the Baltimore Field Office span from Central New Jersey to Northern Virginia and west to Pittsburgh, and together those officers recovered 246 stolen vehicles worth an estimated $10,320,000.

That ranks second nationally behind only the New York Field Office, which recovered 257 stolen vehicles during 2019.

This year's total is a 112 percent increase over the 129 stolen vehicles recovered 2018.

Other than drug and weapons smuggling and distribution, international gangs, cartels, and criminal organizations also make money by selling the stolen cars overseas. Sometimes they use the stolen cars to smuggle the money made from those crimes out of the country.

“Export examinations are a critical component to Customs and Border Protection’s border security mission. Transnational criminal organizations use stolen vehicles as currency and they conceal illicit revenue from their illegal activities in outbound cargo,” said Casey Durst, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office.

Below is a breakdown provided by Custom's and Border Protection, detailing the make and model of stolen vehicles recovered by the Baltimore Field Office in 2019, and where they were headed.

  • 95 percent (234 vehicles) were destined to West African nations, including Benin, The Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
  • 80 percent (198 vehicles) were from model years 2015 through 2019.
  • 63 percent (156 vehicles) were sport utility vehicles. Nationally, SUV’s comprised 45 percent of CBP’s recovered stolen vehicles during 2019.
  • The top-5 recovered stolen vehicles were the Land Rover Range Rover (28), Toyota Camry (15), Toyota Rav4 (12), Toyota 4Runner (9), and Cadillac Escalade (7).
  • The most expensive recovered stolen vehicle was a 2017 Audi R8, valued at $162,900, and destined to Togo.
  • The newest vehicle was a 2020 Mercedes Benz GLE350, destined to West Africa.
  • The oldest vehicle was a 1988 Mack truck, destined to West Africa. The oldest passenger vehicle was a 2002 Toyota Camry, destined to Nigeria.
  • The stolen vehicle recoveries included one motorcycle, a 2009 Yamaha XT250.