Investigation into Brownsville Car Lot Leads to Raid
BROWNSVILLE – One by one, a total of 41 cars were driven off a Brownsville car lot Friday. They were being seized as evidence.
Brownsville Police Spokesman J.J. Treviño said the owners of Salinas Auto Sales were issuing temporary paper plates to customers, without the proper state authorization or documentation. Customers were also not getting their vehicle titles.
Treviño said it became a problem for dozens of customers.
"You'll never be able to register a vehicle or get the license plates," he said.
The man and woman arrested at the car lot are each facing charges for the unauthorized reproduction of temporary tags and breach of computer security.
Treviño said they had been working on the investigation for months.
"It was based on numerous complaints that the citizens of Brownsville had against this business," he said.
The owners of a car lot, just down the road, hope this won't give all car lot owners a bad reputation.
Elida Urquieta said, for 14 years she's worked diligently to do things by the book, as required by the Department of Motor Vehicles, when processing car registrations.
"Some might be able to get away with it, but eventually the state is going to see the abuse, because you're taking out more plates than what it should be," Urquieta said.
Juan Manuel Urquieta said temporary tags can be good for up to 60 days.
He adds it shouldn't take dealers that long. Juan Manuel Urquieta said the state has strict rules that only those authorized to process plates, can do so.
"As an owner, I'm responsible if anyone uses the system to reproduce plates that they shouldn't be," Juan Manuel Urquieta said. “It comes down on me, because I'm the owner."
Treviño also said the business will remain closed, and all the vehicles will remain impounded as evidence.
Anyone who may have been a victim of Salinas Auto Sales or any other car lot is urged to report it to police.
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