Ridgefield auto store owner and manager charged with conspiracy to violate Clean Air Act
May 14 – A federal grand jury indicted on Thursday the owners and a manager of a Ridgefield auto shop for allegedly removing emission control devices from hundreds of diesel pickup trucks, according to a statement from the United States Department of Justice.
Sean Coiteux, 47, and his wife, Tracy Coiteux, 43, service manager Nick Akerill, 41, and the corporate entities they control, Racing Performance Maintenance Northwest in Ridgefield and RPM Motors and Sales NW in Woodland , will appear in the American District. Tacoma court on May 25, according to the press release.
The defendants are said to have “charged their customers a fee of approximately $ 2,000 per truck to remove the emission control systems required by federal law,” between January 2018 and January 2021, the press release said.
“They then modified the legally required software that works to ensure that the vehicle’s pollution remains within legal limits. RPM Motors and Sales has sometimes offered, in connection with the sale of a truck, to remove the engine control system. emissions after the customer has bought a truck, “according to the press release.
Investigators found emails and other electronic records that documented the purchase of equipment and software kits to remove pollution control and reprogram monitoring systems. The modifications, known as “melodies” and “deletions,” are marketed to truck owners as improving the power and performance of the vehicle, the press release said.
The individuals were charged with conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act and 11 specific violations of the Clean Air Act. During the three years of their alleged actions, the defendants earned more than $ 500,000 from the illegal modifications, the press release said.
“By removing the required pollution control devices, the defendants have caused their customers’ diesel trucks to release pollutants into the air at a rate up to 300 times greater than the pollution caused by compliant trucks,” said the lawyer. American Acting Tessa Gorman. “These defendants have increased toxins in our environment that are linked to cancer, as well as damage to the pulmonary, neurological, cardiovascular and immune systems. And they have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for doing so.”
The Justice Department press release announcing the case did not indicate whether investigators would prosecute customers who paid to have their vehicles modified to violate air quality standards.
The Colombian did not receive a response from the Ridgefield company or its owners after a phone call and email requesting a response on Thursday.
Conspiracy charges carry a maximum of five years in prison, and each violation of the Clean Air Act carries two years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000, according to the press release.