Stolen Catalytic Converters

KENNEWICK, WA - A lengthy investigation into the thefts of catalytic converters in Grant County resulted in detectives seizing 533 catalytic converters from two Kennewick businesses earlier this week, according to a release from the Grant County Sheriff's Office.

At approximately 3:00 p.m. on March 15, 2023, detectives from the Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (INET) from the Grant County Sheriff's Office, along with members of the Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force, Benton County, WA Sheriff's Office, Kennewick Police Department, Washington State Patrol and Pasco Police served a search warrant at PDX Scrap Metal located at 213507 East State Route 397 in Kennewick.

According to a release from the GCSO, the search warrant was executed after a lengthy investigation into the trafficking of stolen property and money laundering. This operation is also connected to the service of warrants yesterday at a Moses Lake home and the Dos Tesoros Smoke Shop on Stratford Road in Moses Lake.

While executing the search warrant at PDX Scrap Metal, detectives reportedly recovered 533 catalytic converters, raw materials from the cores of the catalytic converters, and equipment used to extract the precious materials from inside catalytic converters.

Two primary suspects have been identified in the investigation. 51-year-old Eleuterio Domingo Sanchez Vazquez, the owner of C.E.M. Catalytic Converter LLC, and his daughter, 23-year-old Carolina Sanchez Villanueva, the owner of PDX Scrap Metal LLC, are both cooperating with investigators. Neither have been arrested. 

At the conclusion of the investigation, any charges will be forwarded to the Benton County Prosecutor's Office.