Ohio Man Sentenced for Tampering with Diesel Truck Emissions Controls


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Davis Owens, from Hamilton County, Ohio, has been sentenced to prison for his involvement in disabling emissions control systems on diesel trucks in violation of the Clean Air Act.

Owens, 34, from Cleves, Ohio, will serve 30 days in prison, followed by seven months of home confinement and one year of supervised release.

Owens, the co-owner of Holderdown Performance and owner of Cincy Diesel Performance, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the tampering of a monitoring device required under the Clean Air Act. The sentencing follows his involvement in an aftermarket scheme to disable emissions control systems on heavy-duty diesel trucks, which significantly increases the release of harmful pollutants into the environment.

In 2020, Owens entered a Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This agreement addressed allegations that he and Holderdown Performance knowingly bypassed or “defeated” emissions control components on diesel truck engines. Bypassing these controls can drastically increase the emission of pollutants, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and non-methane hydrocarbons.

Despite agreeing to the CAFO terms, which included a $7,500 civil penalty and a commitment to cease manufacturing, selling, or installing defeat devices, Owens continued these illegal activities. Investigations revealed that he and Cincy Diesel Performance persisted in selling and installing defeat devices and emissions-deleting software until February 2022.

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, alongside U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio, announced Owens’ sentencing. The EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations played crucial roles in investigating the case. Senior Trial Attorney Adam Cullman of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section prosecuted the case.


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