Last week Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott visited the Rio Grande Valley and announced legal action against local towing practices. A lawsuit was filed against the owners of AM-PM Towing for violating multiple state laws that include operating a business without a license, failing to accept payment by electronic check, debit card or credit card and towing on a public roadway without a permit, among other allegations.

“These defendants are charged with violating multiple state laws that regulate towing companies,” Attorney General Greg Abbot said in a statement. “The Legislature enacted important protections that prevent towing services from taking advantage of Texas drivers. We will continue to aggressively crack down on unlawful conduct by towing services.”

According to state investigators, AM-PM Towing charged $2,614 to tow a vehicle where $850 should have been charged. An account of the incident was shown of Mario De Leon, who is vice president of operations for Lone Star Shredding and Document Storage in Mercedes. One of De Leon’s trucks was towed by AM-PM in 2007.

“It is people like Mr. De Leon that we are trying to help,” said Abbott. “People that are being held hostage and whose cars are being held unless incredible demands are met,” he said.

The lawsuit was filed May 7 at the District Court in Hidalgo County and is pursuing an injunction against the company and is seeking penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the Deceptive trade Practices Act.

“It is practices like these that we are going to crack down in the Valley and across the state of Texas,” he said.