Los Angeles - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Outbound Enforcement Team at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport intercepted and recovered a total of 20 stolen vehicles bound for Hong Kong and Vietnam.
The vehicles, falsely manifested 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, 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, "In addition to protecting the homeland from terrorists and their weapons, CBP officers are also charged with ensuring that our citizens do not lose their property to international thieves."
The recovered vehicles will be turned over to state authorities for return to rightful owners.
In fiscal year 2011, CBP at Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport seized 61 vehicles and 49 engines heading overseas. Of that total: 24 were stolen, 73 were undeclared, seven were undervalued and six had fraudulent documents. Total value of fiscal year 2011 seizures is $1.8 million.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.