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PA TWO TEXAS MEN INDICTED ON CFC SMUGGLING CHARGES

Release Date: 12/20/96
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PA TWO TEXAS MEN INDICTED ON CFC SMUGGLING CHARGES

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 1996

TWO TEXAS MEN INDICTED ON CFC SMUGGLING CHARGES

On Dec. 3, Louis Joseph Gornick of Midlothian, Texas, and Joseph Verdecanna of Alvarado, Texas, were named in a four-count felony indictment which alleged conspiracy, smuggling, transportation of smuggled goods and violation of the federal Clean Air Act in connection with the illegal importation from Mexico of 168 12-ounce cans of CFC-12, a banned refrigerant commonly known by the trade name "freon." Freon is a gas which depletes the ozone layer in the earth's stratosphere. The ozone layer protects people from exposure to high levels of ultraviolet radiation which can cause skin cancer and cataracts. Gornick appeared in U.S. District Court in Laredo on Dec. 13, and pleaded not-guilty to the charges. Verdecanna remains a fugitive and is believed to be in Mexico. If convicted on all charges, both men face a maximum prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $250,000 The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Customs Service.

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