On September 13, 2023, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Dustin Rhine pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. In April 2023, Rhine, along with 10 other individuals and 3 companies, was charged for their involvement in a scheme to disable the emissions controls on hundreds of semi-trucks.
In May 2023, Diesel Freak, LLC; Accurate Truck Service, LLC; Griffin Transportation, Inc; and five individuals pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. The individuals are Ryan Lalone, Wade Lalone, Douglas Larsen, Craig Scholten, and Ryan Bos. Also in May 2023, three other co-conspirators—Robert Swainston, Randy “Jeb” Clelland, and Glenn Hoezee—pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act. In June 2023, Scott DeKock pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act. Another co-conspirator, James Sisson, is currently awaiting trial.
According to public records filed in the case, Ryan Lalone owns Diesel Freak, where Wade Lalone, Rhine, and Sisson were employed. Larsen, Scholten, and Bos own Accurate Truck Service, where Swainston and Clelland were employed. Scholten and Bos own Griffin Transportation. Hoezee was employed at a shipping company owned by DeKock.
Court documents alleged that Accurate Truck Service removed or altered the hardware components of semi-trucks that controlled the vehicles’ emissions. Diesel Freak reprogrammed the vehicles’ engine computers so that they would continue to function even after the hardware was removed or altered—sometimes referred to as “deleting” the emissions controls. Tampering with or removing emissions controls can drastically increase the emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and non-methane hydrocarbons found in vehicle exhaust. Allegedly, Diesel Freak was involved in at least 362 deletions, Accurate Truck Service in at least 83 deletions, Griffin Transportation in at least 12 deletions, and DeKock’s former company in at least 4 deletions.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division; Homeland Security Investigations; and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Investigation Section.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.