ICE HSI, joint law enforcement investigation, results in 7 area residents indicted for conspiracy to transport stolen catalytic converters across state lines
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Seven Rogersville, Missouri, and Springfield, Mo., residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to transport thousands of stolen catalytic converters across state lines as part of a multi-million-dollar business following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), joint, law enforcement probe.
“A scourge of catalytic converter thefts on a breathtaking scale had a significant impact on the Springfield community over the past two years,” said U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore. “Not only were numerous individual car owners victimized, but several non-profit organizations and churches were also victimized. We worked closely with our law enforcement partners to shut down this criminal conspiracy and bring those responsible to justice.”
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 returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The superseding indictment replaces the indictment returned against Marshall on Nov. 17, 2021, and includes additional charges and defendants. The superseding indictment was unsealed and made public today.
“The Springfield Police Department is pleased to see the end result of a two-year investigation into a series of crimes that has touched every aspect of our community,” said Chief Paul Williams. “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. The dedicated professionals who worked tirelessly on behalf of the many citizens and organizations impacted by the theft of catalytic converters are to be commended.”
“This case is an example of what can be accomplished when local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies work together and I am thankful for our partnership with the Springfield Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office,” said Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson.
The federal indictment charges all seven defendants with participating in a conspiracy to transport stolen property across state lines from Dec. 12, 2019, to Oct. 15, 2021.
Catalytic converters, which are exhaust emission control devices mandated for all cars and trucks, contain metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium that can be recycled. According to the indictment, Marshall bought junk vehicles and scrapped them out for several years prior to 2019, when he started a company, identified as Company D, to provide the appearance of a legitimate business for his purchase, transportation, and sale of stolen catalytic converters.
In the fall of 2019, two co-owners of a firm identified in the indictment as Company C, located in Mountain Home, Arkansas, asked Marshall to buy catalytic converters from the Springfield area and sell them to their company. Company C purchased and sold automotive cores, which refers to automotive parts that can be recycled, including catalytic converters. In addition to selling them catalytic converters from junk vehicles he had purchased from salvage yards, the indictment says, Marshall began to buy stolen catalytic converters from co-conspirators and sell them to Company C.
The owners of Company C purchased tens of thousands of catalytic converters from Marshall from December 2019 through October 2021. According to the indictment, Marshall received more than $6.8 million from Company C, which was, in part, payment for stolen catalytic converters. Marshall loaded between 800 and 1,200 catalytic converters onto trailers and transported them to Company C approximately every two to three weeks. The transports allegedly included stolen catalytic converters.
Marshall allegedly withdrew more than $6.4 million in cash from his bank account, which he used, in part, to promote future purchases of stolen catalytic converters. Marshall provided Davis, Ryder, and others with thousands of dollars in cash to promote future purchases of stolen catalytic converters during the conspiracy.
The owners of Company C sold the catalytic converters they purchased from Marshall to another firm, identified in court documents as Company A, located in Cherry Valley, Ark., which purchased and sold automotive cores, including catalytic converters. Company A paid the owners of Company C $3,247,135 between Dec. 4, 2019, and July 14, 2020. At that point, Company A began selling the catalytic converters they purchased from Marshall to another firm, identified in court documents as Company B, located in Farmington, Mo., which purchased automotive cores, including catalytic converters. Between June 2020 and October 2021, Company B paid Company C more than $18 million. According to the indictment, approximately 32 percent of the catalytic converters Company C sold to Company A and Company B were purchased from Marshall.
On July 5, 2021, Marshall allegedly purchased stolen catalytic converters from an undercover agent and paid $1,030.
On Oct. 15, 2021, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Marshall’s residence and seized 67 firearms and $125,000 in cash. The prior evening or morning of the search, however, Marshall learned of the impending law enforcement action and moved 197 catalytic converters from his residence to another location in order to conceal the catalytic converters from law enforcement.
Marshall has remained in federal custody without bond since his arrest on the original criminal complaint, which was filed on Oct. 20, 2021.
According to the indictment, Davis and Ryder worked for Marshall and allegedly bought stolen catalytic converters on Marshall’s behalf. In February 2021, Davis started a new company, referred to in the indictment as Company E, which purchased and sold automotive cores, including catalytic converters.
The indictment alleges that Leslie Ice, Danielle Ice, Kaltenbach, Khoshaba, and others stole catalytic converters from vehicles in the Springfield area and elsewhere, and sold the stolen catalytic converters to Marshall, Davis, or Ryder.
In addition to the conspiracy, Marshall and Davis each are charged with one count of transporting stolen property across state lines. Marshall is also charged with one count of possessing an unregistered firearm, a Springfield .410-gauge short-barrel shotgun with no serial number that was seized by law enforcement officers during their search of his residence.
The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, Springfield, Mo., Police Department, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Christian County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Webster County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Greene County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shannon T. Kempf and Megan W. Chalifoux.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat transnational crime in your community @HSIKansasCity.