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Former O.C. deputy helped to illegally import 'Fast and Furious' cars

A former Orange County sheriff’s deputy has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge related to illegally importing Japanese muscle cars made famous by “The Fast and the Furious” movies and selling them to enthusiasts and collectors.

Daryl R. Alison, 45, of San Clemente has filed paperwork in which he is expected to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge of removing the markings from an imported vehicle.

The Costa Mesa company that employed Alison, Kaizo Industries, also agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Air Act by failing to file the required paperwork on Nissan Skylines and other Japanese right-hand drive cars worth an estimated $450,000.

The charges grew out of an investigation by several federal agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A Japanese production car since 1955, early Skyline models were not manufactured for the U.S. auto market and did not meet domestic safety and environmental regulations, according to federal officials. Interest in the sports car skyrocketed after the vehicles were featured in “The Fast and the Furious” movies.

Investigators alleged the cars were imported in two shipments, one that included the body and the other the drive-train.

"After arriving at Kaizo’s warehouse, several of the car bodies were then mated back with their original drive-trains and sold to the public," ICE officials said in a statement.

"The defendants allegedly put bogus 17-digit Vehicle Identification Numbers on the cars in place of the actual Nissan VIN plate," the statement read. "To avoid California’s stricter registration and emission requirements, many of the cars were registered out of the state and sold to California residents with Florida and Arizona plates."

Federal and state investigators seized three Nissan Skylines last year after executing a search warrant at Kaizo Industries. The cars did not meet U.S. environmental and safety standards. 

They confiscated nine other vehicles in connection with the probe, including what federal officials described as the “hero” car from the fourth installment of "The Fast and the Furious” movie series.

-- Andrew Blankstein

 
Comments () | Archives (3)

Kaizo is closed, and has been closed since July 2009, when its offices were raided by several government agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

There are many individuals that imported car bodies though Kaizo, and what happens to them remains to be seen. Overall, its a very small number of vehicles in the grand scheme of vehicles sold, or imported to the US. Even since this first started, the early R32 GT-R's have turned 21 years old, and are EPA exempt for importation. In a few years, these first R32 GT-R's will be 25 years old and DOT exempt. The only thing these seizures are doing, are hurting individual owners, tax payers. Most of these cars are just recreational vehicles for the owners. Most are driven only a few thousand miles a year, if at all. The 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R is even listed on the "Show or Display" exemption, however EPA requirements make meeting those standards nearly impossible. Show or Display allows the car to be DOT Exempt.

The Nissan Skyline has become, and always was a big target. Do we really need law enforcement going after these few cars, cherished by the owners, rather than other bigger, more dangerous elements in our society? Thanks ICE, I feel safer already.

Gosh I feel safer now. Thank you Gov't for saving us from this menace of non CARB-approved cars (that probably would pass the smog test anyway). I am glad to see our tax dollars at work keeping America safe.

Muscle cars..LOL


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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