U.S. officials have asked Toyota how ISIS has managed to acquire a large number of SUVs and pick-up trucks spotted in the terror group’s propaganda videos, ABC News reported Tuesday.
Videos released by the terror group in the past year show gunmen patrolling streets in Syria in older and newer model Hilux pick-up trucks with the black caliphate seal displayed on flags on the vehicle's hoods and traveling through Libya in caravans of Toyota Land Cruisers.
The inquiry led by the Terror Financing unit of the Treasury Department is part of U.S. efforts to prevent ISIS from obtaining Western-made goods.
The world’s second largest auto maker told ABC News it doesn’t know how ISIS obtained the vehicles and has a “strict policy to not sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities.”
Ed Lewis, Toyota’s Washington-based director of public policy and communications, told ABC News that is impossible for the company to track vehicles that have been stolen, or have been bought and re-sold by middlemen.
Lewis told ABC News the meeting between company officials and the U.S. Treasury team was “helpful” but could not provide further details.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper in Australia reported in August that more than 800 Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks have been reported missing in Sydney between 2014 and 2015, and quoted terror experts who suggested the vehicles may have been exported to territory controlled by ISIS.
An Iraqi military spokesman told ABC News he believes that middlemen from outside Iraq have been smuggling the trucks into the country.
“We are spending our time to fight those terrorists so we cannot say we are controlling the border between Iraq and Syria,” Brigadier General Saad Maan said. “We are deeply in need for answers.”