Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
July 29, 2011: Miami Husband, Wife, and Corporation Sentenced for 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), and David Bourne, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Criminal Investigation, announced that defendants Yuri Izurieta, 41, Anneri Izurieta, 46, both of Miami, and Naver Trading, Corp., a Miami-based company, were sentenced yesterday for smuggling cheese containing Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus into the United States. U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore sentenced Anneri Izurieta to 30 months’ in prison, to be followed by an additional 10 months’ imprisonment because she committed some of the smuggling while on probation from a conviction for similar offenses. Yuri Izurieta was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment, and Naver Trading, Corp. was sentenced to two years’ probation.
On May 11, 2011, the defendants were convicted of 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. According to the evidence produced at trial, the Izurietas 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 United States Attorney Nathan Sabel.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.
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