Feds Bust 9 State, Million-Dollar Catalytic Converter Theft Ring
Homeland Security says additional arrests could come in other states as well. Maybe Washington? Oregon?
Operation Heavy Metal breaks up 9-state catalytic converter theft ring
According to Homeland Security, by way of US Customs and Border Patrol, it's likely the largest ever catalytic converter theft ring or organization in US history,.
Homeland Security (HSI) agents made raids in 9 states on November 2nd to bring down a massive national theft ring.
HSI says so far 21 arrests have been made, with seizures of thousands of converters in 9 states. They include (according to HSI):
"Arrests, searches, and seizures took place in California, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wyoming. In total, 21 individuals in five states have been arrested and/or charged for their roles in the conspiracy."
According to HSI, the market for these items is very lucrative:
"The black-market price for catalytic converters can be more than $1,000 each, depending on the type of vehicle. Additionally, catalytic converters often lack unique serial numbers, VIN information, or other distinctive identification features, making them difficult to trace to lawful owners"
This operation involved a series of suspects who collected the stolen converters, then were able to ship them to legitimate converter plants for processing, and receiving the money. The defendants set up 'dummy' companies to pose as legitimate operations for recycling the units.
The investigation continues, and more arrests could follow in other states as well. Well over 100 law enforcement agencies contributed to the HSI sting effort on this case.
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