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PHOENIX NEWS

DEA Investigation Leads to Million-Dollar Fine
Chemical company in Philadelphia pleads guilty and agrees to heightened reporting requirements
Seized barrels of MMA discovered in Arizona.
Seized barrels of MMA discovered in Arizona.

OCT 29 (PHOENIX) – DEA announced today, the results of an investigation of an Allentown, PA, based chemical company, who pleaded guilty to six charges including failing to report the disappearance of shipments of monomethylamine (MMA), a precursor for the manufacture of methamphetamine.  Taminco US, Inc. (“Taminco”) has also reached a settlement with the United States of civil claims concerning the same conduct and has agreed to pay a civil fine of $475,000 along with a combined criminal penalty and forfeiture totaling $860,374.

DEA’s investigation revealed in 2010, Taminco failed to obtain required identification of its customers who had ordered six loads of MMA, each load totaling approximately 16,800 kilograms.  Some Taminco MMA shipments also disappeared and were not promptly reported, as required by statute.  DEA agents in Yuma located wrappers from a missing June 2010 shipment of MMA drums in an abandoned warehouse in San Luis, Arizona.  Later in April 2012, agents found and seized six Taminco drums of MMA at a self-storage unit in Nogales, Arizona.  The drums were destined to an unverified customer located in Mexico. 

“DEA’s enforcement of regulatory requirements is critical to the prevention of the diversion of chemicals used in the manufacturing of illicit drugs,” said Doug Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of DEA Phoenix Division. “When the statutory requirements are not followed, it puts communities at risk for continued illicit drug manufacturing and trafficking.”

“The defendant in this case violated the law when it chose to ship DEA regulated precursor chemicals, which it knew could be used to manufacture methamphetamine, without following procedures designed to ensure that these chemicals do not end up in the hands of drug dealers,” said First Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Louis D. Lappen. “As part of our continuing responsibility to help protect the public from dangerous drugs, this office will continue to use both criminal and civil penalties to ensure that companies properly handle List I chemicals.”

As part of the civil settlement, Taminco has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DEA under which Taminco has agreed to comply with certain heightened compliance requirements regarding the manufacture, sale and shipment of listed chemicals.  DEA has agreed to forego administrative action against Taminco’s DEA registrations, subject to Taminco’s compliance with the terms of the MOA.

The case was investigated by the Yuma, AZ Resident Office and Scranton Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance from Customs and Border Protection.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Albert S. Glenn and Charlene Keller Fullmer. 

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