Nearly two dozen businesses in the Otay Mesa area were cited this week for operating illegal automotive businesses after a crackdown from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
A DMV Strike Team inspected 52 businesses in the 700 block of Pogo Road this week, issuing citations to 23 businesses that were acting as an auto repair shop or selling cars or parts without the proper permits to do so, the DMV said. A strike team in Fresno cited seven businesses.
In some cases, these "chop shops" were selling parts from stolen vehicles. The parts are then sold to unsuspecting customers and can often be defective, the DMV said.
Businesses were also cited for violating California’s environmental regulations. The DMV said sometimes engine oil, transmission fluid and radiator fluid from work at these chop shops can seep into rivers and streams and contaminate drinking water.
An estimated 1.2 million vehicles are disposed of every year in California, according to the DMV. About 360,000 of those wind up in the hands of unlicensed chop shops, which ignore environmental, insurance and tax regulations, as well as workplace safety requirements.
Violators could spend up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Environmental violations could result in fines of up to $100,000.