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FLORIDA CFC IMPORTER PLEADS GUILTY; TWO OTHERS SENTENCED

Release Date: 04/05/2002
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 2002

FLORIDA CFC IMPORTER PLEADS GUILTY; TWO OTHERS SENTENCED

Luke C. Hester 202-564-7818 / hester.luke@epa.gov


Donald W. Pigeon of Pompano Beach, Fla., pleaded guilty on March 27 to violating the Clean Air Act by illegally importing approximately 300 cylinders of the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant R-12 into the United States. In addition, Patrick Palmer and Chester Risker, also of Pompano Beach, Fla., were sentenced for their role in this case on March 28. Palmer will serve six months in home confinement and three years probation and will forfeit a 33 foot pleasure boat. Risker will serve three years probation and pay a $2,000 fine. The CFC-12 was smuggled into the United States from the Bahamas in pleasure boats. Some of this contraband R-12 was then sold to south Florida businesses. R-12 was commonly used in air conditioners in cars manufactured before 1994. The importation of R-12 has been highly restricted in the United States under the Montreal Protocol because the release of R-12 into the atmosphere depletes the earth’s ozone layer which protects people from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation such as cataracts and skin cancer. When sentenced, Pigeon faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Customs Service and the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami.

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