Investigators with the California Department of Motor Vehicles issued 29 misdemeanor citations during an enforcement operation in Sun Valley and Pacoima on February 22 aimed at combating unlicensed vehicle dismantlers.
DMV investigators issued the citations at 40 locations for offenses such as operating as an unlicensed dismantler or auto repair facility or selling a vehicle not registered to a seller.
DMV investigators have issued 160 citations related to unlicensed vehicle dismantling since 2017. In addition, the department has received approximately 100 complaints on its online reporting form.
“It is against the law for anyone to act as a vehicle dismantler without having an established place of business, meeting specific requirements, and having a current valid license or temporary permit issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles,” said DMV Chief of Investigations Frank Alvarez. “The sole mission of our Vehicle Dismantler Industry Strike Team is to identify and shut down unlicensed vehicle dismantlers.”
During the operation in Sun Valley and Pacoima, the strike team focused on verifying that businesses are complying with state laws and environmental guidelines.
In addition, investigators inspected Vehicle Identification Numbers, engines and license plates to recover stolen vehicles, components and parts.
Unlicensed vehicle dismantlers operate in the underground economy and do not comply with state licensing requirements. They also ignore environmental regulations, insurance obligations and workplace safety requirements, and avoid paying taxes.
This activity poses potential public safety hazards. For example, vehicle fluids can seep and contaminate groundwater and defective parts can be sold to unsuspecting people.
To report unlicensed vehicle dismantling activity to the DMV Investigations Division, complete the online complaint form.
The DMV unveiled a statewide public awareness campaign to inform the public of the health and safety risks posed by unlicensed vehicle dismantling. Learn more about the department’s efforts to curb this illegal activity on the DMV’s website.
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill 1858, which requires the DMV to collaborate with representatives from the California Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substances Control, State Water Resources Control Board, Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, California Air Resources Board, and California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, to investigate the occurrences of unlicensed and unregulated vehicle dismantling.
Unlicensed Vehicle Dismantler Enforcement Operations
On February 15, 2018, DMV investigators and Ventura District Investigators in response to a Santa Maria code enforcement official complaint, conducted business inspections on unlicensed dismantlers. Approximately 15 businesses in Santa Maria were inspected, and eight misdemeanor citations were issued.
On February 7, 2018, DMV investigators conducted an enforcement operation to address unlicensed vehicle dismantlers in the city of La Puente. The DMV issued seven misdemeanors and 29 vehicle were impounded.
On January 23, 2018, the DMV conducted an enforcement operation in Fresno in which 11 businesses were inspected and seven citations were issued.
On January 23, 2018, the DMV conducted an enforcement operation in San Diego County. DMV investigators inspected 52 businesses and issued 23 misdemeanor citations in the Otay Mesa area. The DMV strike team collaborated with two environmental specialists from County of San Diego Environmental Health (Hazardous Materials Division) and one representative from the State Water Resources Control Board.
On November 29, 2017, as part of the Pomona Environmental Joint Task Force, the strike team conducted business inspections in Pomona. Investigators inspected approximately 22 locations and issued 11 misdemeanor citations.
On October 26, 2017, DMV investigators targeted 36 locations in the Wilmington area (Los Angeles County) and cited 28 individuals for unlicensed vehicle dismantling and related offenses. Two investigators with the California Air Resources Board inspected these locations for violation of state environmental regulations.
During a two-day enforcement operation in the San Luis Obispo area on September 6 and 7, 2017, DMV investigators cited 14 individuals for illegally dismantling vehicles, and DTSC found seven of these locations in violation of state environmental regulations.
On July 26, 2017, DMV investigators conducted an enforcement operation to address unlicensed vehicle dismantlers in the city of Turlock. The DMV issued three misdemeanors.
On July 19, 2017, DMV investigators conducted an enforcement operation to address unlicensed vehicle dismantlers in the city of Novato. The DMV issued two misdemeanors.
On July 6, 2017, DMV investigators conducted an enforcement operation to address unlicensed vehicle dismantlers in the central Los Angeles area known as the Alameda Corridor. The DMV issued 15 citations and impounded eight vehicles.
DMV investigators have also issued 13 citations outside of enforcement operations.