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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Marion Fireworks Company Pleads Guilty to Smuggling

Contact Person: Winston David Holliday, Jr. (803) 920-3000

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Atlas Importers, Inc., a fireworks company based in Marion, pled guilty in federal court in Florence on Tuesday to Smuggling, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, § 545.  United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence accepted the guilty plea and will sentence the company at a later date. 

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that between November 2013 and late 2016, Atlas Importers repeatedly imported unapproved fireworks for sale in the United States.  These fireworks were omitted from invoices to conceal their presence in shipping containers.  Many of the fireworks had been modified to change the powder ratios from what had been approved.  Essentially, the effect powders were increased and the launch powders decreased.

Ms. Drake stated the maximum penalty is a fine of $500,000 and supervised release of five years.

The case was investigated by agents of the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Transportation.  Assistant United States Attorney Winston David Holliday, Jr. of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.

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Updated March 1, 2017