Italian state police have seized luxury vehicles reportedly stolen from Canada to be sold in Turkey and Libya, Polizia di Stato announced on Twitter Saturday.
Thirty stolen vehicles – worth over 1.5 million euros, according to a local media report – were being transferred to the two countries via transit through the Italian Salerno and Gioia ports. Customs authorities thoroughly searched 25 containers on four different cargo ships in Gioia port using “special scanners,” then reviewed the transit documents, Rai News reported.
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Authorities found 100 vehicles in the containers and seized 30 after contacting Canadian police and checking the authenticity of the vehicles’ identification numbers, according to the report.
The vehicles, each worth between 50 and 100,000 euros, were being transferred to the ports of Mersin and Khoms in Turkey and Libya “to be sold to wealthy people.”
Gioia Tauro (RC) #Poliziadifrontiera scopre traffico internazionale di auto di lusso.— Polizia di Stato (@poliziadistato) June 13, 2020
Rubate in Canada, viaggiavano in container e dopo uno scalo nei porti di Salerno o Gioia Tauro arrivavano in Turchia e Libia per essere rivendute a facoltosi acquirenti#essercisempre pic.twitter.com/RDoqgkwAJt
This is not the first incident in which cargo ships were used to smuggle items connected to Turkey into Libya. In February, Italian authorities arrested the captain of a Lebanese-flagged cargo ship which was seized in the port of Genoa on suspicion of trafficking arms to Libya, including tanks and artillery, according to a Reuters report.
The ship’s officer reportedly told the authorities that the weapons were loaded at the port of Mersin in Turkey for transport into Libya’s capital Tripoli.
On February 18, a Turkish ship loaded with weapons and ammunition that docked in the port of Tripoli was destroyed in an attack, the UN-recognized Libyan National Army’s media center had announced.
Turkey has also been sending Syrian mercenaries to fight in Libya. According to the Syrian Observatory, a total of 11,600 mercenaries have been brought to Libya, while nearly 2,500 more have been sent to Turkey for training, as of June 1.