Monthly Archives

December 2012

CHESTER pllc 2012 Holiday Letter

By News

With one year almost at an end and a new year already visible on the horizon, it’s natural to look back over the past months to reflect a bit before diving head first into 2013. As such, and in keeping with the time-honored tradition of the “Holiday Letter,” I wanted to take this opportunity to revisit some of the key moments of 2012 for CHESTER pllc…

Click here to read more of the  CHESTER pllc 2012 Holiday Letter. (It might be slow to load, but its worth the wait!)




Taiwanese Woman Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Illegally Export Aerospace-Grade Carbon Fiber

By Export

Yen Ling Chen, a citizen of Taiwan, pled guilty today at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, before the Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by attempting to export weapons-grade carbon fiber from the United States to Taiwan. According to the indictment and facts presented today in court, Chen was arrested in the United States after attempting to negotiate a deal to acquire tons of the specialized fiber, which has applications in the defense and aerospace industries and is therefore closely regulated by the United States Department of Commerce.

The plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; and Sidney Simon, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), Office of Export Enforcement, New York Field Office.

On April 25, 2012, the defendant contacted an undercover agent in Brooklyn via the Internet and indicated that she and others were interested in purchasing several tons of carbon fiber. Shortly thereafter, the defendant and an accomplice wired $1,000 to a United States bank account, as a deposit on a sample. In furtherance of the export scheme, and in an effort to secure a source of the controlled commodity, the defendant traveled from Taiwan to the United States on July 5, 2012, for the purpose of obtaining the sample. During a meeting with an undercover agent the following day, the defendant assisted in negotiating the deal and making arrangements for the delivery of the sample to Taiwan for further analysis.

Certain types of carbon fiber, such as the type defendant Chen sought to acquire in this case, are closely controlled for nuclear non-proliferation and anti-terrorism reasons. The regulation of carbon fiber falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce, which reviews and controls the export of certain goods and technology from the United States to foreign countries. In particular, the Commerce Department has placed restrictions on the export of goods and technology that it has determined could make a significant contribution to the military potential or nuclear proliferation of other nations, or that could be detrimental to the foreign policy or national security of the United States.

Carbon fiber composites are ideally suited to applications where strength, stiffness, lower weight, and outstanding fatigue characteristics are critical requirements. These composites also can be used in applications where high temperature, chemical inertness, and high damping are important. The two main applications of carbon fiber are in specialized technology, which includes aerospace and nuclear engineering, and in general engineering and transportation. In addition, certain carbon fiber-based composites, such as the material sought by the defendant, are used in military aircraft.

When sentenced, Chen faces up to 20 years in prison.

“The defendant tried to circumvent laws that are intended to protect our national security by preventing specialized technologies from falling into the wrong hands,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Today’s conviction should leave no doubt that the United States will vigorously prosecute violations of our laws that help maintain the superiority of our armed forces on land, at sea, and in the air.” Ms. Lynch added that the government’s investigation is ongoing.

“In the wrong hands, this sensitive commodity could be used to produce materials that threaten the national security of the United States,” said HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Hayes. “Homeland Security Investigations will continue to remain vigilant in its mission to protect our citizens and residents.”

“Today’s plea demonstrates our resolve to prevent potentially dangerous technologies with both nuclear and missile applications from falling into the wrong hands. We will continue to work hand in hand with our law enforcement partners in the worldwide pursuit of those who flout our export control laws,” stated DOC Special Agent-in-Charge Simon.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth DuCharme and David Sarratt, with assistance from Trial Attorney David Recker of the Department of Justice Counterespionage Section. Assistance was also provided by Trial Attorney Dan E. Stigall of the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs.


Customs Seizes Smuggled Cash Hidden in Laundry Detergent

By Export

Photo by CBP. During the search, CBP officers located a box of laundry detergent and found five vacuum sealed plastic bags of currency hidden inside

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents conducting southbound operations at the El Paso port of entry seized $52,072 in unreported currency on December 3. The cash was hidden in a box of laundry detergent.

The seizure was made at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing at approximately 5:00 a.m. when a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina attempted to leave the U.S. for Mexico. CBP officers and Border Patrol agents conducting southbound inspections stopped the vehicle and initiated an exam. During the search, they located a box of laundry detergent which appeared to have been tampered with. They opened the box and found five vacuum sealed plastic bags of currency hidden inside.

CBP officers took custody of the driver, 36-year-old Edgar Lopez Chavez, a citizen of Mexico residing in Aurora. Colorado. He was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations special agents to face federal prosecution. He is currently being held without bond at the El Paso County jail.

“Every dollar that we seize is one less dollar available for criminal organizations to further their illicit activities,” said Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso port director. “The persistent presence of CBP officers and Border Patrol agents checking the flow of southbound goods and people are generating important enforcement activity regularly.”

Individuals are permitted to carry any amount of currency or monetary instruments into or out of the U.S. However, if the quantity is $10,000 or higher, they must formally report the currency to CBP. Failure to report may result in seizure of the currency and/or arrest. An individual may petition for the return of currency seized by CBP officers, but the petitioner must prove that the source and intended use of the currency was legitimate.

While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of CBP, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission, result in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.


US and Mexico Gear Up for Christmas with Operation Holiday Hoax

By Customs IP Enforcement, Export, Import, Intellectual Property, International Business, International IP

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) announced the kickoff of Operation Holiday Hoax, an effort to track down those who are selling counterfeit and pirated products this holiday season.


The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)–led IPR Center is working with partners U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the government of Mexico to target stores, flea markets and swap meets involved in the importation, distribution and selling of counterfeit and pirated products in cities across the United States and in Mexico. Additionally, CBP officers will be conducting inspections and seize counterfeit merchandise at various U.S. ports of entry.

“The counterfeiting and piracy epidemic continues to spread around the world,” said IPR Center Director Lev Kubiak. “Our partnership with the government of Mexico and the rest of our partners at the IPR Center show that this is a problem that affects everyone in the world, not just the United States. Together, we will continue to deliver blow after blow to criminals worldwide making a positive impact on American jobs here at home.”

This is the third year that the IPR Center has conducted Operation Holiday Hoax. Last year’s operation led to the seizure of more than 327,000 counterfeit and pirated items with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price worth an estimated $76.8 million. In 2009 the operation netted more than $26 million worth seized goods.

“The protection of intellectual property rights is one of CBP’s top priority trade issues,” said Assistant Commissioner for International Trade Al Gina. “Operations like this protect American businesses and consumers. CBP works daily to keep counterfeit goods out of the U.S. and to bring producers and distributors of these goods to justice.”

Last year, Mexico’s Tax Administration Service conducted 845 inspections in the main ports of entry, executed 160 search warrants nationwide and seized 23.8 million counterfeit and pirated items including 10 tons of used clothing, cigarettes, electronics, tools and DVD’s. The estimated value of the seized goods was 96.7 million pesos, or $7.1 million.

Holiday Hoax began Nov. 26 and is scheduled to run until Dec. 26. During that time federal and local law enforcement officers will seize products such as perfume, holiday lights, electronics, clothing and DVD’s. As in years past, most of these items are ordered online as part of the holiday shopping season.

Source: ICE