Dismantled a criminal group dedicated to the international traffic of stolen vehicles

5 people have been arrested for the theft of 39 vehicles, having managed to recover all of them

They used European ports to get the vehicles out of our country bound for different parts of Africa

This criminal group specialized in the theft of hybrid cars, bringing the value of the recovered vehicles to around € 3,000,000

The Civil Guard has had the collaboration of the French Gendarmerie and the coordination of Europol








The Civil Guard, within the framework of the "TOLEX" operation, has dismantled a criminal group dedicated to the illicit traffic of vehicles from Spain to Europe and Africa. The operation has resulted in the arrest of 5 people for the alleged commission of crimes of belonging to a criminal group, theft of vehicles, falsification of documents and reception.

The detainees, of Spanish, Bulgarian and Moroccan nationality, are charged with the theft of more than 39 high-end hybrid vehicles in Spain whose market value exceeds € 3,000,000.

In the records made, various tools have been obtained to open vehicle doors, gps devices, electronic devices to override anti-theft security measures, blank keys, sets of counterfeit license plates and cash.

Hybrid Vehicle Theft Increase

Once the restrictions on mobility of the first State of Alarm that were decreed in Spain due to COVID-19 had ended, researchers observed a considerable increase in thefts of hybrid vehicles in our country, with a fairly significant pattern. characteristic in a large part of them.

Thus initiated the investigation and as a result of the analysis of the information obtained, the agents of the Section of Organized Crime of the Automobile of the Central Operative Unit of the Civil Guard (UCO), focus their interests on locating, identifying and arresting the possible perpetrators, being able to corroborate the existence of an international criminal organization that operated from our country, which was specialized in the theft of hybrid vehicles mainly, which were later transferred to different countries in Africa and Europe.

Theft in broad daylight and in community garages

All the vehicles object of this operation were stolen in the Community of Madrid, for which the members of the investigated organization traveled through the different districts and towns of this Community in order to detect vehicles of the make and model they wanted, Those who were subjected to close monitoring to obtain information on the routines of their owners, homes and parking spaces, even going so far as to remove them in broad daylight from inside community garages.

Theft without force in less than 20 seconds using illegal software

Once the vehicle chosen was parked in a feasible place for their interests, the members of this criminal group connected a software developed by hackers to circumvent the security systems installed by the manufacturer in each specific model, so that in less than 20 seconds They accessed the interior of the vehicle without any forcing and without triggering the alarm system, and could then be connected to the electronic control unit of the vehicle, obtaining a key coding with the same characteristics as the original.

Subsequently, these vehicles are transferred to commercial or leisure areas with a large number of parking spaces to go unnoticed, being in these places where the license plates were changed for other false "temporary" that coincided with the make and model of the vehicle without appearing stolen , all with the purpose of avoiding any type of police verification, assuming that they would only be located if they had a remote gps system.

After a reasonable period of time, they were transferred to places considered safe, always under the control of one of their members. In that place, they endowed the stolen vehicles with identifying elements typical of a legal vehicle, such as purchase and sale contracts, circulation permits and technical inspection cards, as well as back-etching of the chassis numbers, all of which was falsified.

Final destination of stolen vehicles

Once the vehicles were "whitewashed" and provided with a legal appearance, they used different modus operandi to get them out of our country.

On the one hand, they organized the transfer of gondola trucks from Bulgaria to Spain to carry out the transfer and sell them the organization itself upon their return to that country, this being a widely used method as it allows 7 vehicles to be taken out of our country in a single journey.

In the same way, several vehicles were transported in trucks to different ports on the Atlantic coast, from where they embarked to different parts of the African continent.

This operation has been developed by the Automobile Organized Crime Section of the Civil Guard's Central Operational Unit (UCO), which has had the collaboration of the Office for the Fight Against Itinerant Crime of the French Gendarmerie and the coordination of Europol and with the support of various Units of the Civil Guard Traffic Group.

For more information, you can contact the Peripheral Communication Office (OPC) of the U.C.O., at 91.514.13.27.

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