BATON ROUGE, La. — BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Police seized about 100 catalytic converters and arrested two people during a raid at a Baton Rouge home.
Officers executing a search warrant Thursday evening arrested a 39-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman after finding the catalytic converters piled in a Ford F-150 pickup truck in the driveway and in a shed on the property, The Advocate reports. Officers also found heroin, LSD, illegal prescription drugs, MDMA, cocaine, fentanyl and crystal meth, as well as an unloaded shotgun, according to arrest documents.
The man told detectives that he was addicted to heroin and had bought the catalytic converters from people who had stolen them, an affidavit says. He planned to sell them locally and in Texas. He said he had drugs in the garage because people would bring them when they sold the converters.
The man's 5-year-old son was home at the time of the raid.
Catalytic converters are made from precious metals that have risen in value in recent years, including platinum, rhodium and palladium. There has been a dramatic rise in the number of catalytic converters across the country since the parts have a very high resale value.
Baton Rouge police say they got about 450 reports of catalytic converter thefts in 2021, the newspaper reported.
Louisiana has strict laws about who can buy and sell the auto parts, so many that are stolen there are sold in Texas.
Neighbors had long complained about suspicious activity at the home, saying they saw vehicles coming and going at all hours of the night accompanied by loud music. The man had set up a sort of “chop shop” in a row of empty parking spots across the street, the newspaper reported.
The man and woman were booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of possession of stolen things over $25,000, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession with intent to distribute drugs and possession of a firearm.