When Oxnard police received complaints from downtown business owners about shady and disruptive activity taking place, they looked into the matter and called upon investigators from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for help.
In a six week period, operating undercover, Oxnard police and DMV investigators discovered two men were setting up shop and illegally selling cars from various street corners and parking lots. The two men, Joaquin Samano, 41, of Port Hueneme and Ernesto Macias, 42, of Ventura, are accused of "flipping" cars, purchasing a car for one price then reselling it or "flipping" it for a profit without being properly licensed.
"Illegal vehicles sales is a problem throughout California," said Kenny Ehrman, president of the Association of Motor Vehicle Investigators of California (AMVIC). AMVIC is an affiliate of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). "These dealers victimize the public by selling vehicles that may never pass a smog test, that the buyer may not be able to register and in some cases, these vehicles are stolen."
In addition to putting buyers at risk, by selling cars this way unlicensed dealers avoid paying taxes and registration fees.
"These dealers also often target our immigrant population," said Ehrman. "They know if something goes wrong with the vehicle or the transaction, they won't call the cops. It's shameful."
DMV Investigations is the only law enforcement agency that targets this illegal activity and is routinely called upon to assist local agencies with enforcement operations.