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Authorities: Durham inspector faked auto emissions tests

Posted April 9, 2012

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— A Durham man was part of a scheme to pass hundreds of vehicles that would have otherwise failed state emissions tests, federal authorities said Monday.

Angel Dario Rodriguez Nunez, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act and making a material false statement. He will be sentenced later.

Prosecutors said Nunez worked as a licensed emissions inspector at Express Auto Sales and Services and Car Care Express Auto Sales and Services, both in Durham. From May 2009 to July 2010, he and other unidentified co-conspirators used fake inspections to pass 817 vehicles, taking $150 to $225 from each vehicle owner in return, according to authorities.

The fake tests involved scanning or manually entering a vehicle identification number into the emissions test database and then hooking up a surrogate vehicle to the analyzer to perform the test. The surrogate was usually a vehicle manufactured between 1996 and 1999 that wouldn't generate a vehicle identification number when connected to the emissions analyzer, authorities said.

The surrogate vehicle would then generate a successful emissions test report for the vehicles that wouldn't have passed, authorities said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires North Carolina to conduct vehicle emissions testing in the Triangle and other areas because they exceed national standards for carbon monoxide and ozone.


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  • timuivdyg Apr 10, 2012

    miseem: When you "try to get a little ahead" by taking bribes to break the law and you get caught, it is not "Unamerican", unless you consider bribery and lawlessness as American ideals. The reason you can't "drive what you want" is that you are not alone on this planet, and the rest of us don't want you going around ruining it for future generations. And the difference between carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide is that one is harmless and the other is a deadly poison. Jeeez!!!

  • Con Amor brings luv and laughter Apr 10, 2012

    I wish there were more out there like him! And shame on the rat who sniched him out!!!!!!!

  • not my real name Apr 10, 2012

    He would have made more money fixing the dang problem instead of faking the test. Duh....

  • miseem Apr 9, 2012

    This is Unamerican. A guy tries to get a little ahead and Wham! the feds come down on him. It's a free country and you should be able to drive what you want - a gas guzzling SUV or a carbon monoxide spewing clunker. What's the difference? Besides, how did the EPA determine that ozone and carbon monoxide are bad for you. I thought ozone blocked UV rays, and carbon monoxide is not a lot different than carbon dioxide, just one less oxygen atom. There are lots of scientist that say carbon dioxide is not harmful, so I'm figuring the risk from carbon monoxide is trumped up too.