DMV Investigators Combat Unlicensed Vehicle Dismantlers

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Investigators with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) targeted approximately 36 locations in the Wilmington area (Los Angeles County) in an effort to combat unlicensed vehicle dismantlers. During the enforcement operation on October 26, 2017, DMV investigators cited 24 individuals for unlicensed vehicle dismantling. In addition, four individuals were cited for other related offenses. In addition, two investigators with the California Air Resources Board inspected these locations for violation of state environmental regulations.

“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 Vehicle Dismantler Industry Strike Team consists of DMV investigators whose sole mission is to identify and shut down unlicensed vehicle dismantlers.

The strike team inspected business locations suspected to be involved in unlicensed vehicle dismantling activity in Los Angeles County. The investigators found vehicles that were in the process of being dismantled by unlicensed individuals. Investigators also found these unlicensed dismantlers were illegally selling used auto parts. It is illegal to sell used vehicle parts without proper acquisition from a licensed dismantler.

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 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 Alvarez.

Unlicensed vehicle dismantlers operate in the underground economy and do not comply with the licensing requirements. Unlicensed vehicle dismantlers also ignore environmental regulatory requirements, insurance obligations, workplace safety requirements, and avoid paying taxes. For example, vehicle fluids can seep and contaminate ground water and defective parts can be sold to unsuspecting people, creating a potential public safety hazard.

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 the California Air Resources Board in accordance with state law.

To report unlicensed vehicle dismantling activity to the DMV Investigations Division, complete the online complaint form or visit, to report possible abuse.


In September 2016, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill 1858, which requires the DMV to collaborate with representatives from the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), California Air Resources Board (CARB), and California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, to investigate the occurrences of unlicensed and unregulated vehicle dismantling.

On July 7, 2017, DMV investigators issued 15 citations and impounded eight vehicles in the Los Angeles area. 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.


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