Calgary police have charged three people and are looking for a fourth person after a lengthy auto theft investigation that stretched into three provinces.
Police say stolen vehicles were obtained from low-level car thieves, sometimes in exchange for cash, drugs or other stolen vehicles.
The identification numbers were then changed and the vehicles sold to unsuspecting buyers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
An investigation launched in 2017 eventually led to the search of several locations between Calgary and Saskatoon and the seizure of property that included 39 stolen vehicles worth $1.9 million.
Tyler Roger Scott and Tami Lee Scott, both of Calgary, and Ikraam Elahi Chaudhary of Saskatoon face a number of charges, including committing an indictable offence for the benefit of, association of, or direction of a criminal organization.
Charges have also been laid against a third Calgarian, Sylvain Serge Lefevre, who is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.
Police said vehicles left running with the keys inside, or those left in unsecure garages, were the thieves’ primary targets.
The information was used to re-register and insure them before they were sold.
Police said they learned that the vehicles were used in several other crimes, including fraud, drug trafficking, trafficking in stolen property, break and enter and thefts.
Hundreds of fraudulent vehicle identification numbers, some registration documents, drugs and residential property in Calgary purchased through the proceeds of crime were among other items seized when search warrants were executed last May.
Police said their investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be laid.