Nine men were arrested last week and charged under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act after an emissions testing crime ring was busted up, according to Todd Binnion, criminal investigator with the state Department of Natural Resources.
The crime ring moved from Fulton to Douglas County last winter when the All Pro Sales and Service shop opened up, located at 6310 Bankhead Highway, Binnion said.
The believed ring leader, Tavaris Despinosse, 22, was arrested shortly after the shop opened. "They moved in in early December," Binnion said. "We got a search warrant and went in on Dec. 19. Only about 150 to 160 cars had been tested in Douglas County during that time." Counting his time in Fulton County, it is thought that Despinosse is responsible for thousands of false emissions tests.
Binnion said that surveillance cameras revealed that Despinosse was testing the same vehicle over and over again but typing in a different vehicles information each time. The nine men arrested last week were charging motorists around $150 and then giving the information to Despinosse.
The nine men arrested were Bello Shaka Momodu, 42; Duane Jonathan Brooks, 45; Paul Edward Spicer, 42; Meredith Delynn Cromartie, 45; Brent Devonn Ooten, 42; Michael Knight, 39; Raymond Fernando Mitchell, 48; Roje Dale Harris, 26; and Jercory Brown, 32.
During their court appearances, five suspects were denied bond, three were given bonds of $40,000 and ninth suspect received a bond of $10,000. One suspect remains at large and additional arrests are possible, Binnion said.
Despinosse was released from the on $50,000 bond, arrest records indicate.
The investigation was conducted by several agencies including the U.S. Marshals Office and the .
"This was a joint case," Binnion said. "The Douglas County Sheriff's Office was of great assistance."