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Authorities Foil International Car Theft Ring

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DETROIT (AP) – More than a dozen people have been arrested in the theft and transporting of luxury rental cars and sport utility vehicles from the United States to Canada for shipment and sale in the Middle East.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit says nine people were arrested in Michigan and four others in San Diego following a two-year investigation dubbed “Operation Hot Wheels.”

An indictment unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit says members of an organization rented vehicles from national chains in Michigan and Ohio and drove them into Canada. Police reports later were filed claiming the vehicles were carjacked or stolen in Detroit.

Five vehicles were found in containers at a Montreal port awaiting shipment to Iraq.

One man still was being sought by authorities.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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