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Smuggling stolen cars from US to Ghana: Nat Geo investigation uncovers syndicate

An investigation by Mariana van Zeller for the National Geographic Channel has exposed a car smuggling syndicate traced to Ghana.

The investigation published in a video a week ago started in the United States of America where the investigative journalist followed the activities of a gang who are into stealing of luxury cars.

Some of the gang members who spoke to Van Zeller explained to her how they undertake their activities and the structure of the international crime syndicate where cars stolen on the streets of America end up in third world countries such as Ghana.

Van Zeller travelled to Ghana to meet some of the local players.

She met a hacker/black market trader and another person who handles the business aspect of the enterprise.

The two gave the journalist insights into the local trading of stolen cars and how they are able to get the cars into the Ghanaian system without raising any red flag.

With import duties costing as much as 20% of the value of a car in Ghana, the hacker told van Zeller that he is able to hack into the system of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to help the syndicate get away with paying the required import duties.

"It is my duty to attack the Tema Harbour... We make it seem as if you've paid everything," the hacker stated.

Being the people at the end of the trail, the Ghanaian syndicate are deemed as being at the summit of the international car smuggling syndicate.

Calling himself Ivan, a man who leads the importation and selling of stolen cars in Ghana opened up more about the operations of the gang to the journalist.

"It is possible that most of these cars are stolen.

Most of the boys come here to hang out. There are top guys that are in the business now; the stolen cars business. This is how some family generations have made money," Ivan told the journalist while they drove through some areas in Accra where nightlife is buzzing.

In all, the investigation uncovered the Ghanaian players as those sitting on top of the international car theft ring. They make the most money from a criminal enterprise that sees cars belonging to people in America, stolen and shipped some six thousand miles away from their owners.

Watch the documentary by Marian van Zeller below:


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