Nigerian crime ring Black Axe behind GTA luxury vehicle thefts
Operation involved Service Ontario employee who fed vehicle owners’ details to criminals
CBC News Posted: Dec 11, 2015 1:08 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 11, 2015 4:09 PM ET
Toronto police say 500 luxury SUVs were stolen in the Greater Toronto Area this year as part of a sophisticated vehicle trafficking operation linked to Nigerian organized crime ring Black Axe, in which a Service Ontario employee allegedly fed vehicle owners’ details to criminals.
Police told a press conference Friday morning that thieves stole the cars according to a “shopping list” handed down to them from higher ranking members in the ring, acquired vehicle identification numbers (VINs) and key codes from the Service Ontario employee and had keys cut by a locksmith, who was also arrested.
The cars were then taken to shipping yards in Montreal and Halifax and arrived in Nigeria and Ghana within days, where they sold for roughly half their market value, police said.
Police said the investigation, nicknamed Project CBG, began in the spring of 2015 after they noticed a string of luxury vehicle thefts in and around Toronto. When they began investigating, they noticed that the thefts weren’t one-offs, but rather part of an intricate web, they said.