Used car buying can bring out a range of emotions: joy, frustration, surprise. This used SUV purchase certainly includes the latter two emotions...
I Accidently Purchased a Diamond-Smuggling Nigerian General's Land Cruiser
In May 2017 I paid cash for a 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser with less than 15K miles. I took delivery of the car on a seemingly normal Tuesday afternoon. I immediately knew I was going to return the car as soon as it was off the truck. There was a broken headlight and some scrapes down the side. So I called them up, told them what I saw and requested we start the return process. That evening I drove it around with my pregnant wife and two-year-old daughter. We didn't drive for long because the brakes were squealing and I got a bad feeling.
The next day I took the car to my mechanic. The car is beautiful, and part of me wanted to find a way to make it work. He called me over to look at the car after about 5 minutes. The car had been in a rear-end collision, and there was some overspray on the undercarriage. He then showed me why the brakes were squealing. There were no rear brake pads. Let me repeat that. There were no rear brake pads.
At this point, I'm furious. My pregnant wife and two-year-old were in this vehicle. I just couldn't let it go. So I started digging because honestly, I got a little obsessed with my anger. Here comes the weird part of the story...
I researched the vehicle history through the VIN...It turns out it was registered to General Gabriel Atondo Kpamber, Major General to be exact. Up until his death in May of 2016 he was a Major General in the Nigerian Army. A Guardian article indicates that General Kpamber made quite a lot of money selling conflict diamonds during the Sierra Leone civil war.
As if that wasn't enough, I found that this Land Cruiser was imported back from Nigeria in February 2017. At least according to the bill of lading. So here I am, trying to get my $57,295.09 back from an online dealer that sold me a used Nigerian General's car.
Unfortunately, I did not find any diamonds in the seat cushions.
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