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US, UK Partnership Takes Aim at Illegal Vehicle Trade

Release Date: 
June 29, 2015

New Agreement Sets Stage for Further Expansion

LONDON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) expanded its partnership with counterparts in the United Kingdom today in order to combat illegal vehicle trafficking.

At an event at the U.S. Embassy in London, CBP and the United Kingdom National Police Chief’s Council, National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) and the United Kingdom Border Force signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to share law enforcement information in order to intercept illegal vehicles imports.

Import safety is a global challenge that requires strong international partnerships,” said Brenda Smith, assistant commissioner for CBP’s Office of International Trade. “With this agreement, CBP and our partners in the United Kingdom set the stage to expand joint trade enforcement efforts into Europe.”

Representatives from CBP, U.K. Border Force, and NaVCIS sign a Letter of Intent today at the U.S. Embassy in London

Representatives from CBP, U.K. Border Force, and NaVCIS sign a Letter of Intent today at the U.S. Embassy in London.

CBP’s Cynthia Whittenburg, executive director for Trade Policy and Programs signed the LOI on behalf of the delegation from CBP. The agreement marks the beginning of several days of working sessions toward expanding Operation Atlantic, the joint trade enforcement operation that targets illegal vehicle imports, onto the European continent.

“Operation Atlantic has clearly demonstrated the significance and benefits of multi-lateral information exchanges in the enforcement of the laws of both our countries,” said Gordon Roberts, Detective Chief Inspector with NaVCIS. “Today, we reaffirm our commitment to our U.S. partners to thwart illegal vehicle trade, together!”

At the signing of the agreement, Sam Bullimore, the Deputy Director of the United Kingdom Border Force Intelligence Directorate noted, “The Border Force National Intelligence Directorate is very pleased to continue its co-operation and close working relationship with CBP and NaVCIS through the signing of a new Operation Atlantic LOI.  Addressing cross border crime is a priority for Border Force and our capability has been increased through our collaboration with CBP and NaVCIS in Operation Atlantic.”

Launched in March 2014, Operation Atlantic is a joint U.S. and U.K. trade enforcement initiative to seize illegal vehicle imports.

In the U.S., Operation Atlantic involves the teamwork of personnel at CBP’s Commercial Analysis and Targeting Center (CTAC) and CBP officers and import specialists at ports of entry. Armed with information from its counterparts in the U.K., CBP personnel can more effectively target illegal vehicle imports.

Over the past year, inspections of imported vehicles, specifically Austin Minis and Land Rover Defenders, have dramatically increased with more than 500 vehicles examined.  Much of the activity was spurred as a result of Operation Atlantic.

This week will also see the beginning of increased efforts with other European counterparts to focus trade enforcement efforts on unsafe and illegal vehicle trafficking.  Through leveraging CBP’s Container Security Initiative program, customs and law enforcement entities on the European continent will work together with CBP officers stationed in country to intercept suspect vehicles and to exchange enforcement information.

For additional information on the CTAC, please visit

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017