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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Man pleads guilty to illegally importing fireworks

Advertiser Staff

The vice president of Ham Produce Seafood Inc. pleaded guilty yesterday to importing large "display-type" aerial fireworks without a license.

Sam Hugh also pleaded guilty to importing merchandise on the basis of false or fraudulent declaration.

Hugh will be sentenced Feb. 23 before U.S. District Judge Susan Mollway.

U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo has said federal agents seized 466 cartons of "heavy explosive material" in June 2001 from the Ham Produce warehouse in Kalihi. Federal officials said the fireworks ranged from 2 inches to 12 inches in diameter and took up about 700 square feet of space in a loft at the company's warehouse.

Officials said the seized fireworks were worth about $250,000 and could have only been sold legally to licensed fireworks display operators.

Hugh was indicted last year.

The importation charge carries a prison term of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine. The falsifying documents charge is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hugh also agreed to a forfeiture of $114,822.95, which were his proceeds of the sale of illegal fireworks.