By Jonathan Walsh
Rabat – Following investigations from local authorities, a network of car dealers selling stolen cars imported from Europe has been discovered in Meknes 90 miles west of Rabat.
Around 200 cars were thought to be part of the most recent discovery, according to L’Economiste, which again highlights the growing black market for stolen vehicles in Morocco.
The discovery was made following investigations of a number of cars that were available without license plates. After checking records, it was confirmed that they had been illegally imported.
Those who had bought these cars were not given license plates by local authorities. They were advised to not resell their purchases and to use famous “cardboard” license plates until further notice.
In an interview with L’Economiste, car buyers relayed to the local authority’s the suspicious practice of not providing license plates.
“The reason given by those car dealers was that they didn’t want to be discovered. They are a part of a network of dealers who import stolen new automobiles and sell them in the domestic market,” one customer said.
“Meknes police officials showed us over 200 vehicle records pending at the request of the central government,” added another.
Last week, it was reported in Ahdath Al Maghribia newspaper that in 2015 alone over 500 stolen cars had been identified as vehicles that had been trafficked into the country through the Spanish enclave of Cueta. These figures only include stolen cars that have been discovered. It is believed that the real figure of illegally imported cars is in the thousands.
It is thought that traffickers involved in the scheme remove the GPS system on the vehicles when they are stolen to avoid detection. New documentation is then accredited before the cars are trafficked through the busy Spanish port of Algeciras and sold below market rates.