Two men are facing charges after a two-month police investigation into an illegal exporting operation that sent stolen cars and car parts from Canada to Lebanon.
Ottawa police worked with the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency and the Insurance Bureau of Canada on the investigation, which recovered $400,000 worth of vehicles and parts.
So far, 14 vehicles have been recovered, with more expected to be found, said Det. Marshall Clark of the Ottawa Police organized auto theft section.
Police believe the stolen vehicles were being cut in half and shipped via the port of Montreal to Lebanon, where they would be reassembled or sold for parts. They tended to be expensive models by manufacturers such as Hummer, Infiniti and Lexus.
“It’s not the first time we’ve uncovered this,” Det. Clark said. “It is a common problem.”
Hanna Tanios, 39, of Ottawa was arrested and charged with fraudulent concealment and possession of stolen property over $5,000. Ayad Tirani, 39, formerly of Ottawa, was also charged but has not yet been arrested, as police believe he is in Lebanon.
Both men are also charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
On Wednesday, police executed a search warrant at Anthony’s 31 Collision & Auto Sales in Gloucester, where they say Mr. Tanios was an employee and former owner and out of which they believe the operation was being run.
A search warrant was executed Friday at a storage facility in Ottawa where cars and car parts were being stockpiled in a rented storage space. Five warrants have been executed as a result of the investigation.
“Out goal is to ultimately find out who else is involved,” Det. Clark said.
When reached at home, Mr. Tanios’s wife would not comment on the charges.