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5 arrested after smuggling dangerous toys from China to New York

By Mason White 6:32 PM February 7, 2013
Mickey Mouse toys 

By: Sarah Weiss
5 New York business owners were arrested and charged after smuggling dangerous toys from China to New York.

The scheme involved constantly changing the corporate name after authorities caught the illegal shipments, according to court proceedings in New York.

Dora the Explorer, Spongebob, Betty Boop, Mickey Mouse, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers and some Cinderella items. were all found trying to enter illegally into the country, as part of an elaborate smuggling operation of toys made in China, that officials said operated for more than eight years. Illegal shipments were seized dozens of times.

On Wednesday, the five men who authorities say were behind the operation were arrested and charged with the importation and sale of counterfeit and dangerous toys.

“For years, those accused tried to make money by importing and selling counterfeit and dangerous toys, without regard for the law or the health of our children,” Loretta E. Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said.

In an indictment unsealed in a court in Brooklyn, Chenglan Hu, 51, Hua Zhang Fei, 52, and Zhang Xiu Lan, 60, all Chinese citizens and residents of Queens, and Guan Jun Zhang, 29, Jun Wu Zhang, 28, both naturalized citizens and residents of Queens, were charged with importing products that violate the law of consumer product safety and copyright laws, as well as smuggling and money laundering.

All defendants pleaded not guilty and were released on bail of $100,000.