April 6, 2001 (DETROIT) – Cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Canada and the United States has led to unmasking of a ring of thieves who stole luxury cars in Ontario and sold them on the other side of the border, federal prosecutors say.
A Michigan businessman, Noureddine Hachem, 46, owner of New Millenium Car Center in Dearborn, has been indicted. U.S. Attorney Saul Green describes him as a middleman in the operation. Members of the group allegedly obtained valid Michigan titles for cars that had been stolen in Canada and given false vehicle identification numbers.
Ontario police began the investigation in 1998, joined by the FBI and Detroit police a year later. Canadian police have arrested or are seeking a total of 43 suspects, while three have been arrested in Michigan. Police in both countries have seized more than 150 cars.
Police are searching for Mohamed Salhia, 36, a car dealer with businesses in Toronto and Panama, who allegedly sold a Lexus sport utility vehicle worth close to $40,000 to an undercover FBI agent for one-quarter of its value.