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Michigan man sentenced for tampering with truck emissions systems

A Michigan man, Dustin Rhine, received a sentence for his role in a scheme to illegally modify the emissions systems on hundreds of semi trucks, bypassing federal pollution laws.

Details: The sentence, handed down on January 9, includes 12 months of probation, a $2,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment.

Rhine and his co-conspirators were charged in April 2023 as part of what the U.S. Attorney's Office referred to as one of the most significant diesel emissions tampering operations in the country.

Background: Rhine pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act. The companies involved, including Diesel Freak LLC, Accurate Truck Service, LLC, and Griffin Transportation, Inc., engaged in hundreds of these illegal "deletions."

  • This process involved removing hardware that controls emissions and reprogramming engine computers to function without it, ostensibly to improve vehicle performance and reduce maintenance costs.

Consequences: As part of the investigation led by the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with Homeland Security Investigations and other agencies, several individuals and companies have been sentenced.

The impact: Tampering with emissions controls not only violates environmental laws but also undercuts the regulatory efforts aimed at reducing pollution from heavy-duty diesel engines, crucial to maintaining air quality.

Going forward: The outcome of these cases serves as a cautionary tale for those in the trucking industry, reminding that compliance with environmental regulations is not optional.

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