Border Patrol Intercepts $1.1M Worth of Stolen Vehicles in Savannah and Charleston Destined for Overseas

Border Patrol Intercepts $1.1M Worth of Stolen Vehicles in Savannah and Charleston Destined for Overseas
Recovered 2023 Bentley, 2022 Mercedes in Savannah; Dodge Truck Recovered in Charleston

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have intercepted a significant haul of stolen vehicles during outbound enforcement operations in Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. In the ongoing fiscal year of 2024, CBP officers have seized 18 stolen vehicles valued at approximately $1.1 million. These vehicles were destined for countries including Ghana, Libya, Jordan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

This interception marks a continued effort by CBP to combat transnational criminal organizations. Gregory Alvarez, Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Atlanta Field Office, emphasized the role of CBP officers and law enforcement partners in disrupting criminal enterprises both foreign and domestic. Alvarez stated, “Intercepting these stolen vehicles allows for victims to recover a significant personal item and disrupts the flow of money to criminal enterprises both foreign and domestic.”

The recovered vehicles, which include sedans, luxury SUVs, pickup trucks, and even a high-end 2023 Bentley, were obtained through various fraudulent means. Some were acquired using stolen identities and credit cards from car dealerships, while others were reserved via fraud and later stolen from rental car companies.

In previous fiscal year 2023, CBP officers at ports of entry in Charleston and Savannah recovered 59 stolen vehicles valued at over $7.5 million domestically. The recent interceptions include a 2023 Bentley Continental and a 2022 Mercedes sedan seized at the Savannah seaport on April 19, 2024, with a combined domestic value of $398,000. Additionally, on April 13, 2024, a 2022 Dodge truck and a 2024 Cadillac sedan valued at $165,000 were seized at the Charleston seaport.

Among the intercepted vehicles were a 2023 Cadillac Escalade and a 2019 Mercedes G-Wagon destined for Turkey, recovered by CBP at the Savannah seaport on March 13, 2024. In some instances, victims were unaware of the crimes until contacted by CBP officers.

The recovered stolen vehicles have been handed over to the Georgia Port Authority Police and South Carolina Law Enforcement Divisions for final disposition. The diligent efforts of CBP officers in Charleston and Savannah have not only protected American businesses and vehicle owners but also disrupted criminal networks at home and abroad.

CBP’s border security mission is led at our nation’s Ports of Entry by CBP officers and agriculture specialists from the Office of Field Operations. CBP screens international travelers and cargo and searches for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, invasive weeds and pests, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.