Three Men Indicted in Chinese Honey Smuggling Scheme
Jacksonville, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the return by a grand jury of an indictment charging three individuals with smuggling honey from China into the United States. Chin Shih Chou, a/k/a "Jeff" (48, Taiwan), Qiao Chu, a/k/a "Dott" (25, China), and Wei Tang Lo a/k/a “Danny,” a/k/a “Larry Law,” a/k/a "David Lo" (48, Hacienda Heights, California) are charged with falsely labeling the honey as "rice fructose" in order to avoid more than $1 million in duties owed to the United States. They each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) revealed that Chin Shih Chou, Qiao Chu, and Wei Tang Lo allegedly labeled shipping containers filled with Chinese honey as “rice fructose” to avoid a $2.63 per kilogram anti-dumping duty imposed by the United States. After the containers of honey passed through U.S. Customs, they were forwarded to a warehouse, washed of all markings and re-labeled as amber honey. The honey was then sold to domestic purchasers.
ICE-HSI agents, in cooperation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), are in the process of seizing or detaining 123 containers of Chinese honey falsely manifested as “rice fructose.” Each shipping container holds 64 barrels of honey. These containers are located at 11 ports of entry throughout the United States. The loss of duty owed to the U.S. government on these containers is approximately $1.15 million.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Russell C. Stoddard.