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U.S. Firm Pleads in ‘Freon’ Smuggling Case

LOS ANGELES — A Southern California company has pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling illegal CFCs into the United States in violation of the Clean Air Act.

The U.S. Attorney’s office announced that attorneys for Allied Refrigeration of Long Beach, CA, entered a guilty plea to one count of smuggling in Los Angeles federal court. The company agreed to pay a $1 million fine and was placed on probation for five years.

The U.S. Attorney’s office charged Allied Refrigeration with receiving around 18,000 30-lb cylinders of CFCs that were manufactured in India and smuggled into the United States through Miami, FL.

“The value of our environmental resources cannot be overstated,” said U.S. Attorney Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “This prosecution signals our continuing resolve to prosecute those responsible for endangering our world for the sake of a quick buck.”

Lorraine Brown, head of the Customs Service office in Los Angeles, said Freon smuggling has been prosecuted since 1995, and is expected to become a growing problem.

“Because continuing demand is expected to deplete remaining U.S. stockpiles of Freon this year, we anticipate a surge in black market smuggling,” Brown said.

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