Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
May 12, 2011: Husband, Wife, and Corporation Convicted of Smuggling Adulterated Cheese
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, and David Bourne, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigation, announced the convictions of defendants Yuri Izurieta, 41, of Miami, Anneri Izurieta, 46, of Miami, and Naver Trading, Corp., a Miami-based company, on one charge of conspiracy to smuggle goods into the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and five counts of smuggling goods into the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 545.
Sentencing has been scheduled for July 28, 2011 before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. The defendants face a maximum of five years’ imprisonment for the count of conspiracy, and a maximum of twenty years’ imprisonment for each count of smuggling.
According to the evidence elicited at trial, Anneri Izurieta and Yuri Izurieta operated Naver Trading, Corp., a licensed importer engaged in the importation and sale of dairy products. Over several years, the Izurietas and Naver Trading, Corp. repeatedly imported multi-ton shipments of cheese and other dairy products into the United States. Although these dairy products were released from the port into the custody of the Izurietas and Naver Trading, Corp., the defendants were not authorized to sell and distribute the dairy products pending successful completion of an examination by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
On multiple occasions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered Salmonella, E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus in the Izurieta’s dairy products while the dairy products were on hold in the custody of Naver Trading, Corp. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration alerted the Izurietas about the contamination of their dairy products, and required them to either destroy or re-export their dairy products under supervision. Despite receiving these warnings, the Izurietas failed to destroy and re-export tons of contaminated cheese. The Izurietas even admitted selling a shipment of 4,890 kilograms of imported cheese that contained both E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Mr. Ferrer commended investigative efforts of the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigation. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Raich and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Sabel.