Eight Individuals Charged in Customs Fraud

Eight persons and three corporations were charged with illegally importing hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign goods into the U.S. in a complaint unsealed today (July 25). According to the U.S. Attorney's office, the defendants ran a scheme to import foreign goods without paying import taxes, or customs duties. The defendants would claim that the goods, such as Chinese apparel and Indian-made cigarettes, were to be transshipped from the Port of Long Beach to another country, such as Mexico. Thus, they claimed, the goods were not subject to taxation because they would not enter commerce in the U.S. But, says the U.S., the defendants cooked up phony paperwork and database entries; the goods would be diverted to Los Angeles and then sent around the country.

Among the defendants are Gerardo Chavez of Spring Valley, Carlos Medina of Chula Vista, and Rene Trahin and Elizabeth Sandoval of San Diego. The companies charged were International Trade Consultants and Tecate Logistics of Tecate, and M Trade of Los Angeles.

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