People Arrested for Smuggling Cars to Africa

Versailles, France, Dec 12 (AFP/APP):French police said Saturday they had arrested and charged seven members of a gang accused of stealing cars in France and smuggling them by container to Africa.

Investigations began in June after two shipping containers were found containing three stolen cars in a small village west of Paris. The probe revealed a “highly-organised” operation, police said. The suspects, aged 20-35, operated at night, mostly in the Paris area.

First they would break into the car, plug a computer into the on-board diagnostic port and use software to reprogramme the vehicle to accept a new key. They would then pay someone 50 euros ($60) to pick up the car and park it on the street with a new registration plate for days or even weeks.

Once the car was no longer deemed “traceable” it would be shipped in a container to Africa. Investigators linked the gang to over 30 stolen vehicles, mainly SUVs.

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