BALTIMORE —Federal authorities said they recently came across illegal cargo at the Port of Baltimore, and one of the items they intercepted is the target of a nationwide crackdown.
"They can get upwards of $100,000 for these vehicles. Somebody's thinking they are buying a 1975 Defender, when really they are buying a 2005 Defender that's been illegally altered," explained Robert Hunt, of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.Authorities said the find is another crushing blow for the lucrative black market business of illegally importing and reselling fake, vintage Land Rover Defenders.
That was the case with the Defender found at the Port of Baltimore. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, federal inspectors at the port in April seized the British-made off-road utility vehicle when they noticed its VIN was altered.
The U.S. allows vehicles that are 25 years or older to come ashore, even if they don't meet U.S. road safety standards, like a classic car exemption.
"What the importer did on that one is he manipulated that Defender to make it look like it's older than 25 years so that he could legally import it," Hunt said.
The newer-model Defender was destroyed at a Maryland salvage yard this week because the vehicle does not meet U.S. road safety standards, particularly the one requiring airbags, officials said.
Officials said the Defender is one of dozens intercepted at seven other ports across the U.S. this year, from Philadelphia to Tacoma, Wash.
Read more: http://www.wbaltv.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/feds-seize-illegal-cargo-at-port-of-baltimore/21493292#ixzz37faJJKlb
Why did they have to destroy them?? What other options were there?