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Firm Will Pay $1-Million Fine for Smuggling CFCs Into U.S.

May 26, 2000|DAVID ROSENZWEIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Long Beach company has agreed to pay a $1-million fine after pleading guilty to smuggling ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons into the country, the U.S. attorney's office said Thursday.

Allied Refrigeration Inc. admitted purchasing 18,000 30-pound cylinders of chlorofluorocarbons that were smuggled into the United States from India.

The company entered its plea to the felony charge late Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall. William Carter, who oversees environmental crime prosecutions in the U.S. attorney's office, said the $1-million fine represents the company's profits in reselling the smuggled refrigerants.

At the time the offense occurred, from 1993 through 1996, the import of chlorofluorocarbons was restricted. Since then, both their import and manufacture have been banned.

With domestic stockpiles about to be depleted this year, federal officials are bracing for a resurgence in black market smuggling of chlorofluorocarbons, according to Lorraine E. Brown, head of the U.S. Customs Service office in Los Angeles.

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