BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – More than 50 officials representing law enforcement agencies, law courts, customs, vehicle registration offices, insurance companies and non-governmental associations from 10 different countries from the Americas have concluded INTERPOL’s first vehicle theft and trafficking conference for South America at the INTERPOL Buenos Aires Regional Bureau.
From 21–23 March, participants addressed the alarming growth of vehicle theft and trafficking trends in the region, sketching an overall picture of the current situation and highlighting new methods used by criminal groups to steal and resell large volumes of high-value vehicles for considerable profits.
Participating countries included Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and the United States.
The need for the public and private sectors to enhance their collaboration in tackling the increased theft and circulation of stolen vehicles topped the agenda of this first INTERPOL conference to specifically target vehicle crime in South America.
Law enforcement and private industry officials agreed to boost multilateral efforts to combat this increasingly violent and murderous form of crime in South America.
“Only a multi-faceted approach that pools resources and forges strategic partnerships with private industry and other key partners can improve this criminal situation for South American countries,” commented Criminal Intelligence Officer Renato Schipani of INTERPOL’s Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) taskforce, based at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France.
Operation Condor : tangible results
The meeting also provided INTERPOL General Secretariat staff with the opportunity to brief participants on the results of Operation Condor, a joint operation involving police in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. From 1 February to 15 March 2012, police forces in the three countries recovered a total of 900 stolen motor vehicles and arrested more than 100 suspects, including a gang of Peruvian nationals thought to have murdered a taxi driver whilst stealing his vehicle.
“The main key to the success of this operation was the wealth of information contained in the INTERPOL Stolen Motor Vehicle database, and the fact that throughout the operation police in the field were able to access this crucial data,” commented Domingo Andres Toledo, Regional Specialised Officer at INTERPOL’s Buenos Aires Regional Bureau. “Our thanks go to our law enforcement colleagues in all three countries whose tireless efforts and dedication made operation Condor such a success.”
INTERPOL’s SMV database currently contains more than seven million entries from 128 countries, and checks carried out in 2011 alone resulted in some 43,000 hits across the globe.