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Miami man jailed for R-22 smuggling

A MAN has been jailed in the US for illegally importing nearly 300,000kg of R-22.
Miami man jailed for R-22 smuggling
Brendan Clery, 34, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release for illegally importing approximately 278,256 kg of R-22.

U.S. district court judge Adalberto Jordan also imposed a fine of $10,000, and ordered Mr Clery to forfeit to the United States $935,240, representing the proceeds of his illegal conduct.

According to court records and statements made in court, in 2005 Mr Clery formed Lateral Investments, a Florida corporation, for the purpose of importing merchandise, including refrigerant gas. He was the president of Lateral, and between June and August 2007 he illegally smuggled large quantities of R-22 into the United States to sell on the black market.

Although R-22 can still be legally used in the US, the United States has issued baseline consumption allowances for the production and importation of R-22 to individuals and companies. To legally import R-22, one must hold an unexpended consumption allowance.

At no time did Mr Clery or Lateral Investments hold unexpended consumption allowances that would have allowed them to legally import the R-22. During 2007, he illegally imported approximately 20,460 cylinders of restricted R-22, with a market value of $1,438,270.

United States attorney Wifredo Ferrer said: 'The U.S. attorney's office, along with its law enforcement partners, is committed to enforcing our nation's laws and protecting our environment from actions that threaten both the well being of our citizens and the quality of our environment.'

Maureen O'Mara, special agent in charge of EPA's criminal enforcement program in Florida said: 'The significant sentence imposed in this case demonstrates that breaking the law isn't worth the risk.'

'The unlawful importation of goods poses a triple threat to the national security, public safety, and economic well-being of the United States,' said Michael Shea, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Miami. 'This case is another example of ICE's partnership and aggressive approach with the U.S. attorney's office and EPA to protect the American public from inferior and unsafe products that compromise the safety of our citizens.'

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