Several stolen autos, including two nearly brand new ones, almost made their way to the Ivory Coast and Nigeria this month by way of Baltimore.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the seizures today. The lifted models including a 2017 Infiniti QX80 stolen right here in Charm City — worth upwards of $80,000, says Edmunds — and a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado High Country (around $50,000) taken from nearby Leesburg, Va., as well as a 2015 Honda Accord nabbed from Chicago.
The first two were recovered on Nov. 20 and bound for Abidjan, Ivory Coast, while the Accord was found at the port on Nov. 14 and headed to Lagos.
From October 2016 through this past September, border patrol recovered 59 stolen cars at U.S. ports, worth $1.7 million combined and marking the largest total in seven years. Typically, cars shipped out from Baltimore are bound for Benin, Ghana and Nigeria, the agency said.
“Customs and Border Protection officers will continue to work with our federal and local partners to identify and recover stolen vehicles before they can be smuggled out of the United States,” Dianna Bowman, the agency’s area port director for the Port of Baltimore, said in a statement.
Of course, the stolen car trade appears to be heating up right as the Port of Baltimore is. The port has recently crushed previous records, thanks to its super-sized cranes and ability to handle China’s extra huge container ships by way of the widened Panama Canal. The only major piece holding it back is the recent nixing of the much-awaited Howard Street tunnel expansion project.
For these reasons, we can be thankful that CBP officers are there to nab our stolen wheels and, every now and then, single out the occasional six-legged menace.