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Minnesota was among the nine states involved in the takedown of what the U.S. Department of Justice described as a "nationwide catalytic converter theft ring."

The DOJ announced the successful operation on Wednesday, saying it is seeking the forfeiture of $545 million in the case, as well as the arrest and charging of 21 people from five states in connection with the scheme.

While none of those charged in two separate indictments, Minnesota is listed as being among the states where arrests, searches, and seizures were conducted as part of the operation.

The DOJ release notes that it received assistance from multiple Twin Cities police departments including St. Paul, Chaska, Roseville, Plymouth, Bloomington, and Eagan.

Sheriff's offices involved including those in Anoka, Brown, Carver, and McLeod counties, suggesting the crime ring stretched into greater Minnesota as well as the metro area.

Among those arrested were a trio of family members who ran an unlicensed business from their home in Sacramento, California, buying stolen catalytic converters from thieves and shipping them to an auto shop in New Jersey for processing.

They are estimated to have sold $38 million in stolen merchandise to the New Jersey shop, which extracted precious metal powders from the equipment and sold it to a metal refinery for more than $545 million.

A similar ring operated out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, resulting in more than a dozen charges involving the same auto shop in New Jersey.

There has been a rise nationally in catalytic converter thefts in recent years, with the vehicle components highly sought after due to the precious metals used to make them.

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RXMechanic reports the scrap value of more valuable catalytic converters ranging from $300 and $1,500, with the DOJ saying that depending on the vehicle and the state, they can fetch around $1,000 on the black market.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the takedown of the theft network has seen millions of dollars of assets seized, including bank accounts, homes, luxury vehicles, and cash.

"We will continue to work alongside our state and local partners to disrupt criminal conspiracies like this one that target the American people," Garland said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray added: "This national network of criminals hurt victims across the country. They made hundreds of millions of dollars in the process – on the backs of thousands of innocent car owners."

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