A new operation is taking on illegal car sales in the South Bay, with the Department of Motor Vehicles leading the charge.
Investigators issued seven citations and towed five cars Saturday in San Jose, as part of a statewide operation.
One-hundred-and-sixty-seven undercover DMV officers hit 50 cities Saturday, targeting people they say are putting dangerous cars on California’s roads.
According to investigators, unlicensed car dealers typically purchase low-end vehicles from auction or from wrecking yards with salvage titles and then sell them for profit.
"They take them home, they fix them up in their backyard, and they can look pretty," DMV Supervising Investigator Calvin Woo said. "They put them out here and put for-sale signs on them and sell them to unknowing individuals who often times, they have structural damage. The engines have been blown and just patched together. They will not pass smog. There's back DMV fees owed"
The dealers often give false names, so there is no recourse for the buyer.
"They put them on sale, often selling to the Hispanic community," Woo said. "There is a lot of undocumented individuals who buy these vehicles. They know that they won’t complain to the local police cause they are afraid of getting deported."
Those cited can face a fine of up to $1,000.