York police recovered 52 stolen vehicles valued at more than $3.2 million, resulting in 11 people charged, according to a news release Monday.
Police said an investigation from October 2023 to January 2024 uncovered "a group of criminals" storing stolen vehicles in residential areas throughout York Region, the GTA and southwestern Ontario
Police issued six search warrants in Vaughan, Toronto, London, Cambridge and Bradford in December an January. As a result, 96 charges, including theft of a vehicle and possession of property obtained by crime, were laid against 11 men ranging between 20 and 64 years old.
"The prolific crime group was targeting high-end vehicles and trafficking them with planned destinations as far away as Azerbaijan and Georgia," the release read.
Police say the investigation included the Canada Border Services Agency and Équité Association, an organization that works to eradicate crime on behalf of the Canadian property and casualty insurance industry.
The investigation is ongoing, according police, and anyone with information is asked to contact officers or submit a tip anonymously to Crime Stoppers.
Car theft in the GTA has been a pressing issue for police in urban areas, particularly within the last year. To help address the problem, the Ontario government created a provincial carjacking task force and committed to spending $18 million over the next three years to fund projects intended to fight auto theft.