February 16, 2017
Northern California Company and Its Owner Charged With Hazardous Materials Violations
On February 16, 2017, Peiwen Zhou of Union City, California, was indicted by a Federal grand jury in San Francisco, which charged him and his company, AK Scientific, Inc., with conspiracy, smuggling, and violations of the Hazard Materials Transportation Act (HMTA) and the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA).
It is alleged that between 2008 and 2016, Zhou instructed employees to deliberately ship hazardous materials as nonhazardous to avoid HMTA requirements. The company willfully and recklessly made shipments to domestic and international customers without labeling them as hazardous. Hazardous material markings are used by shippers and first responders to determine the appropriate response in the event of a spill or accident with the package.
Furthermore, Zhou allegedly instructed employees to purchase chemicals from suppliers in China using false names to avoid TSCA requirements. These imported chemicals were purposefully misidentified, and the required documents were not properly completed, in violation of the Tariff Act.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.