Devices commonly called “catalytic converters” have been used in automobile exhaust systems for more than four decades in an effort to cut down on nitrous oxide and other harmful emissions. Recently, criminals have discovered that the rare earth metals that are required to make catalytic converters operate properly have a very high value on the black market. The value of these components was recently demonstrated by the arrest of a man from Earlimart after deputies discovered almost $200,000 worth of catalytic converters in his home.
Tulare County Sheriff’s deputies were making a routine probation compliance check on the suspect, who resides near Earlimart. During the check, deputies found 20 catalytic converters. Sheriff’s deputies then summoned agriculture detectives to continue the investigation.
The agriculture detectives obtained a search warrant before arriving at the home. The warrant was served, and the detectives searched the home. They found an additional 73 catalytic converters on the premises. The total value of all of the converters found by police was estimated to be about $167,000.
The suspect was arrested and booked into South County Detention Facility on charges of possession of stolen property.
The suspect in this case is facing serious criminal charges, especially since he appears to have violated the terms of his probation. If he is convicted, he could face a significant period of incarceration, a large fine and loss of his driving privileges.
Anyone who may be facing similar charges might benefit from a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide a helpful evaluation of the evidence and suggest potential legal theories to assist the defense. For example, the details of the arrest in this case are unknown. The police may have violated the defendant’s rights by the manner in which the initial search was conducted. A capable defense attorney can spot any flaws in the search or arrest in this case. If appropriate, an experienced attorney can also assist in negotiating a fair plea agreement with the prosecutor.