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California Man Jailed and Fined for Sale of Illegally Imported Freon

On December 7, Ahed Alghazouli was sentenced to 30 months in prison, 3 years supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $6,000 fine in U.S. District Court in San Diego, California on a charge of conspiracy to launder money in connection with the sale of illegally imported R-12 Freon refrigerant. R-12 Freon is used primarily in automobile air conditioning units and is considered by EPA to be a hazardous material because of its ozone-depleting properties. From June 1997 to October 2004, Alghazouli and his brother, Amar Alghazouli, operated United Auto Supply in San Diego, where they sold automotive supplies, including R-12 Freon smuggled into the United States from Mexico. Amar Ahed was convicted in March 2006 of similar charges and was sentenced in July to serve 41 months in prison, pay a $7,500 fine, and forfeit property valued at $135,000 in Chandler, Arizona. This case was investigated with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the EPA's Criminal Investigations Division and the FBI.