Spanish National Police has dismantled an international criminal organization dedicated to illicit vehicle trafficking. A total of 19 people have been arrested, 16 in our country (Madrid, León, Barcelona, Castellón and Badajoz) and three in France, and 54 vehicles have been recovered in Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Austria valued at more than one and a half million euros, numerous devices and more than 130,000 euros in cash. The criminal organization obtained these vehicles using three modus operandi: through renting contracts, with fraudulent financing and through their theft.
The investigation began last January when it was learned of the existence of a criminal organization that was dedicated to the illicit acquisition of vehicles with a diversity of modus operandi that allowed them a wide range of actions.
Three modus operandi
The main activity of the organization consisted of the signing of fraudulent rental contracts for medium-high range and aesthetic SUV vehicles through stolen identities of third parties. Once the vehicles were obtained, they were transported by the organization’s logistics network to France, from where they were shipped.
They also acquired companies with a poor financial situation at low cost, using these companies to acquire several cars in the form of renting in a single operation. During the investigation, it has been confirmed that up to 17 vehicles were obtained with this method.
Within the diversification of its criminal activity, a second branch of the organization dedicated to the acquisition of vehicles through fraudulent financing was detected. To obtain the vehicles, they usurped the identity of third parties through the use of false identity documents, with which they opened accounts in different bank branches in the name of the victims and used the documentation in order to finance the acquisition of vehicles. With this methodology they acquired high-end vehicles with a high market price.
The investigators detected the theft of vehicles and the acquisition of vehicles stolen by third parties and their transfer to Spain and France, where they were given false documentation and registered, giving them access to the European and African markets, with the port of Marseille being the place where the majority They loaded the cars into containers bound for this second continent.
54 vehicles recovered in various locations in the European Union
Investigators were able to verify that the organization was highly structured, with a manager and his lieutenant who lived a high standard of living and who hid the real origin of their profits by making it appear that they came from successful nightlife venues that they ran. At a lower level were the intermediate managers, who were in charge of various logistical activities such as vehicle acquisition, obtaining personal and financial data from third parties, obtaining false documentation, and storing and transporting vehicles. At the bottom rung of the organization were those who performed auxiliary tasks such as collecting and transporting vehicles.
During the operation and thanks to international police cooperation, a total of 54 vehicles have been recovered in Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Austria, and so far 19 people have been arrested, 3 of them in France and the rest in Spain (Madrid, León, Barcelona, Castellón and Badajoz) with entries and registrations being made in our country and inspections in workshops and sales companies in France. In addition, electronic devices, documentation and more than 130,000 euros have been seized.
One of those arrested had been on the run from justice since 2020 and had a total of 11 arrest warrants from different courts, eight of them for imprisonment. The investigation remains open and more arrests are not ruled out.