An indictment made public Thursday alleges seven local residents were involved in the theft of catalytic converters as part of a multimillion-dollar business scheme.
Evan Marshall, 24, and Camren Davis, 24, both of Rogersville, and Cody Ryder, 30, Leslie Ice, 37, his wife, Danielle Ice, 33, Eric Kaltenbach, 37, and Enx Khoshaba, 29, all of Springfield, were charged in a four-count superseding indictment, according to a news release from the office of Teresa Moore, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
The indictment accuses all seven defendants with participating in a conspiracy to transport stolen property across state lines from December 2019 to October 2021.
Catalytic converters, used as exhaust emission control devices for vehicles, contain metals that can be recycled. The indictment alleges multiple companies – not named in the release – were set up in Missouri and Arkansas to provide the appearance of legitimate businesses for the purchase, transportation and sale of stolen catalytic converters, according to the release.
The scheme involved tens of millions of dollars as the businesses allegedly traded thousands of converters.
"Organized criminal activity, such as this, is extremely costly to victims, taxpayers and the economy as a whole," said Katherine Greer, Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge, in the release. "Oftentimes, these types of crimes fund larger, more egregious, criminal enterprises that put the community at a greater risk."
Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams added in the release that the crimes have "touched every aspect of our community."
"Our citizens have not only suffered the inconvenience of all things associated with being a victim of these crimes, but also suffered significant financial losses," he said in the release.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May the all-items inflation index surged 8.6% over the past year, the highest increase since 1981.