A man was arrested and charged with illegally importing a large shipment of a highly regulated chemical compound known as R-22, officials announced Tuesday.
He did so under the pretense that he was actually bringing into the U.S. a safe refrigerant that does not destroy the ozone layer.
Mahmoud Alkabbani, 63, the owner of USA Car Parts in Garden Grove, pleaded not guilty this afternoon to the nine-count indictment.
A trial date was set for August 8.
Alkabbani was arrested Friday evening at Los Angeles International Airport after he returned to the United States from a trip abroad.
R-22 is R22Chlorodifluoromethane, sometimes known as HCFC-22, a refrigerant gas and class II ozone-depleting substance.
According to the International treaty, the use of R-22 is being phased out around the world. In the United States, pursuant to the Clean Air Act, only parties with unexpended “consumption allowances” are allowed to import the chemical.
The indictment shows that Alkabbani entered into an agreement with a Chinese company to purchase R-22, which was packaged in cylinders bearing counterfeit “Glacier” trademarks.
The Chinese company listed the product as R-134a – which is not regulated by the Clean Air Act and does not deplete the ozone layer – but a second, secret agreement called for the Chinese company to actually sell R-22 to Alkabbani.
The indictment charges Alkabbani with conspiracy, one count of entry of goods by means of a false statement, five counts of passing false and fraudulent papers through a customhouse, one count of smuggling and one count of violating the Clean Air Act by improperly selling R-22 to an undercover agent.
If convicted of the nine counts in the indictment, Alkabbani is facing up to 132 years in federal prison.Warning: file_get_contents(): https:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_fopen=0 in /hermes/bosweb26a/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151 Warning: file_get_contents(https://plusone.google.com/_/+1/fastbutton?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cjnotebook.com%2Fman-charged-with-illegally-importing-ozone-depleting-refrigerant%2F): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /hermes/bosweb26a/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151