Los Angeles: The US authorities have charged eight people for allegedly bringing into the country Indian cigarettes, Chinese textiles and other goods worth a whopping USD 100 million without paying tariffs and other fees.
According to a federal complaint, the accused marked the goods on official documents as being for trans-shipment to Mexico, not for sale in the United States, and then sold them at Southern California warehouses, undercutting competitors.
The Justice Department said 90 illegal shipments worth at least USD 100 million had been identified. More than USD 10 million in customs duties, taxes and other revenue were lost as a result, a US media report said.
Eight people and three firms illegally imported the foreign goods into California though the Long Beach Port-of-Entry, the officials charged.
Gerardo Chavez, 42, president of the San Diego Customs Brokers Association, a trade group that represents 45 brokers doing business on California's border with Mexico, was taken into custody yesterday, US Immigration and Enforcement said.
The federal complaint states his companies "facilitated" about USD 500 million in trade between the United States and other countries over the last five years.
Chavez was charged with conspiracy to defraud the US government, entry of goods by false statements and obstruction of justice.