On March 12, the Kentucky Commonwealth Attorney's Office filed a 167-count indictment in Louisville against 16 individuals, alleging that they were involved in the theft and sale of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants in several states.

The CFC refrigerants were allegedly stolen from Louisville Packaging Co., in Louisville, Ky., transported to a farm in Henry County, Ky., repackaged and sold to distributors who, in turn, sold them to customers in several states. The importation and sale of CFC refrigerants is highly restricted in the United States, because the airborne release of CFCs damages the earth's ozone layer, which protects people from ultraviolet radiation, a potential cause of skin cancer and cataracts.

The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Jefferson County Police Department and the Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement program with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case is being prosecuted by the Kentucky Commonwealth Attorney's Office in Louisville. An indictment is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

(Source: EPA)