A Kansas car dealer, Aymen Halak, owner of Unique Motors LLC in Wichita, Kansas was stunned after finding nearly 30 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and heroin hidden in the gas tank of a used Nissan Altima that was purchased from an Oklahoma City auto auction. The drugs are worth up to nearly half a million dollars.
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“The car was fine, up until, during the test drive, we found out there was a problem in the fuel tank,” Halak, he told an ABC affiliate. After he purchased a new fuel pump replacement, and took the Nissan to the repair shop, he discovered that the fuel tank contained a huge amount of drugs. It’s not clear how the drugs ended up in the tank, but authorities say it is not rare for drug smugglers to use vehicles to conceal drugs.
Halak immediately reported this to the police, and they quickly swarmed his dealership for more than five hours. According to Halak, he had a buyer in progress to purchase the car, but unfortunately, police officers told him that the vehicle would have to be disassembled. Although this has caused the dealer to lose a sale, Halak says that he does not regret reporting it to authorities.
When dealers purchase from auctions, the public assumes that dealers are doing their jobs and researching the entire history of a vehicle. It is important for consumers to take the necessary steps also and run a VIN check to ensure what they are getting is legit.
In another part of the country, a Georgia woman was faced with a consumer’s nightmare. The dealership, E-Z Auto Finance in Marietta, Ga., bought the Nissan from Manheim Auto Auction in Atlanta in December 2017. According to the dealership, they were unaware that it was stolen at the time of purchase or when it was sold the consumer, Crystal Wilkinson.
Wilkinson paid more than $5,000 down on the 2011 Nissan Maxima from the dealership on January 8, 2018. It wasn’t until over a month later, while purchasing her license plate, that she learned her car was actually owned by someone else. After calling Cobb County police, they ran the VIN number and confirmed it was stolen out of Atlanta. The vehicle was then towed and impounded. But when the dealership ran the VIN, they claimed that it did not show up as stolen.
According to NBC affiliate, 11Alive, the original owner of the Nissan who reported the vehicle stolen from his home on October 26, 2017, retracted the report just a few days later, once he got it back and learned that knew took the vehicle. The owner, who did not want to be identified, told the network that he immediately contacted the Atlanta police.
A spokeswoman from the Georgia Attorney Generals’ Office said according to the Fair Business Practices Act, “In the event, a consumer learns she has purchased a stolen vehicle and immediately contacts the dealership, we would expect the dealer to refund any monies paid. Any obligations to a lender or bank for the financing of the stolen vehicle should also be canceled.”
Wilkinson has filed a report against the dealership with the BBB and the Secretary of State’s Office. She plans to hire an attorney and file a civil suit against the dealership.
Lemon law attorneys help their clients by dealing directly with the manufacturer on the clients’ behalf, working to promptly resolve the issue and get their clients back on the road. Thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, attorneys can seek their fees directly from the manufacturer, meaning a client can obtain legal counsel without having to pay attorneys’ fees directly out of pocket.