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Nearly 600 stolen vehicles worth $34.5M recovered at Port of Montreal

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Almost 600 stolen vehicles have been recovered in Montreal following a joint operation between numerous police forces and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Representatives with the CBSA, as well as Ontario and Quebec police forces, made the announcement Wednesday in Montreal, speaking about "substantial strides [made] in intercepting stolen vehicles."

Officials say they located 598 vehicles that were designated for illegal exportation as part of Project Vector.

"These vehicles were destined to be exported overseas to markets in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America," explains Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Deputy Commissioner Marty Kearns.

The operation was a joint force between the CBSA and various police forces in Quebec and Ontario.

"Approximately 75 per cent of vehicles recovered from sea containers in Montreal are identified as stolen in Ontario," the CBSA said. "The recovered vehicles identified as stolen in Ontario have a potential value of approximately $34.5 million."

The stolen vehicles, often newer model high-end pick-up trucks and SUVS, have been connected to various crimes, including carjackings and home invasions.

Since December 2023, the CBSA says Project Vector has inspected 390 shipping containers.

The agency notes investigations are ongoing.

The results come after the federal government promised $28 million in February to help fight the export of stolen vehicles by giving the CBSA more capacity to detect and search containers that may have stolen vehicles inside.

The federal government says around 90,000 cars are stolen each year in Canada.

In 2023, Montreal police (SPVM) estimates that more than 11,000 vehicles were reported stolen on its territory, compared to 9,000 in 2022.

The force notes the number of car thefts has steadily been on the rise since 2019.

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