Hawaii Resident Pleads Guilty to Illegally Shipping Fireworks
On August 29, 2012, in U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, California, Patrick Kamehameha Powers, a resident of Kailua, Hawaii, pled guilty for causing undeclared fireworks to be transported in commerce from Ft Collins, Colorado, to Ontario, California, and from Ontario to Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Powers failed to properly mark the packages that contained the fireworks with the proper shipping name or identification number for the hazardous materials inside.
OIG's investigation began in January 2009, based on information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Hazardous Materials Branch, Los Angeles/Honolulu Field Office. The FAA advised that in November 2008, several individuals, one of whom was Powers, had illegally shipped fireworks via United Parcel Service to an address in Hilo, Hawaii. Fourteen packages, which were falsely labeled as household goods, were shipped to an address in Hilo from Office Depots located in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Ft. Collins, Colorado; and Denver, Colorado. The packages were each transported via UPS ground and eventually transported to Honolulu via air carrier. A UPS driver in Honolulu subsequently discovered the illegal fireworks when one of the packages broke open. OIG later identified Jaime Church, Mr. Powers' associate, as the recipient of all of the packages. Mr. Powers admitted that he illegally shipped the fireworks to Hawaii for one of his former real estate clients. Mr. Powers also admitted to using fictitious shipping names and addresses on paperwork associated with the shipments and that he shipped the fireworks from three different Office Depots to avoid being detected. He also said he knew the shipments of fireworks would eventually be shipped to Hawaii by way of ground and air transport.
OIG conducted this investigation, with substantial assistance provided by the FAA.