Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

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

November 1, 2010 |  3:49 pm

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