Massive smuggling operation crushed by US, Hong Kong authorities

Drug Smuggling Tunnel Discovered in California House
Drug Smuggling Tunnel Discovered in California House

Officials announced Tuesday a huge commercial fraud scheme has been shuttered by the governments of the United States and Hong Kong in what is believed to be the largest ever uncovered on the West Coast.

The United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency reports that the operation was a multinational criminal organization that was smuggling hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of Chinese-made apparel into America through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif.

See more of the announcement from ICE below:

The bust between the two governments revealed the scheme resulted in more than 7,000 shipping containers of apparel -- totaling more than $600 million -- that avoided import duties and quotas.

"By collaborating and pooling resources transnationally with law enforcement partners in a massive undertaking such as this, our borders extend to further stop culprits and recover substantial monetary losses," acting director Anne Maricich of the Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations said.

Also the government agency reports that five people have been federally charged in connection with the probe spearheaded by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations team. Only one person has pleaded guilty so far while the other four defendants remain at large and are considered fugitives.

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