Sacramento – Investigators with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) investigated 35 locations in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties in an effort to combat unlicensed vehicle dismantlers. During a two-day enforcement operation on September 6 -7, 2017, DMV investigators cited 14 people for illegally dismantling vehicles and other offenses. In addition, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) found seven of these locations in violation of state and federal environmental regulations.
“This is a very important part of a DMV investigator’s law enforcement duties,” said Kenny Ehrman, president of the Association of Motor Vehicle Investigators of California (AMVIC) “Unlicensed auto dismantlers don’t comply with the licensing requirements and work in the shadows of California’s large underground economy, meaning they aren’t paying taxes. They also don’t give thought to hazardous materials, and typically pay no mind to insurance requirements and safety in the workplace. This becomes a safety issue as well if defective parts are being sold to consumers.”
The DMV Investigations Vehicle Dismantler Industry Strike Team (VDIST) inspected business locations suspected to be involved in unlicensed vehicle dismantling activity in the Nipomo Mesa area, which includes the cities of Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande, Lompoc, San Luis Obispo, and Paso Robles. The investigators found vehicles that were in the process of being dismantled by unlicensed individuals.
During this operation, the strike team focused on verifying that businesses complied with state laws and regulations, as well as environmental guidelines. In addition, investigators conducted Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspections, and examined engine and license plate numbers in order to recover stolen vehicles or components and parts.
“We want unlicensed vehicle dismantlers to know that the DMV has an active law enforcement team that continuously attacks problem areas throughout the state,” said DMV Chief of Investigations Frank Alvarez.
The strike team obtained information from state and local agencies that indicated unlicensed dismantlers were operating in the targeted area. The strike team collaborated with DTSC in accordance with state law. In addition, the strike team worked with the San Luis Obispo County Auto Theft Taskforce, National Insurance Crime Bureau, and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff.