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Eight people charged with conspiracy scheme

July 25, 2012 |  6:30 pm

Eight people and three corporations were charged Wednesday with a scheme to avoid customs fees when importing hundreds of millions of dollars of goods through the Port of Long Beach, according to the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego.

The scheme relied on marking goods on official documents as being for trans-shipment to Mexico, not for sale in the United States, U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy said. The goods included Indian-made cigarettes and Chinese-made clothing apparel, according to prosecutors.

Among those charged is Gerardo Chavez, 42, president of the San Diego Customs Brokers Assn. The charges include conspiracy, obstruction of justice and bringing goods into the U.S. with false statements.



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-- Tony Perry in San Diego