Chinese cell phone part counterfeiter pleads guilty

A Chinese national is facing up to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to selling more than $1m-worth of counterfeit Apple and Samsung cell phone parts.

Hongwei 'Nick' Du (33) of Shenzhen, China, supplied the fake parts to a Calexico-based online business in a scheme uncovered during a multiyear probe spearheaded by US enforcement agencies.

Du admitted to conspiring with two El Centro residents to traffic counterfeit goods and money laundering, and admitted he coordinated the shipments of the Chinese-made counterfeit products in a manner designed to prevent customs officers from detecting them.

In addition to prison time, Du faces a maximum fine of up to $750,000. He has also agreed to forfeit the $1.5m he derived from the scheme.

Du was arrested on February 3 at the Imperial Valley airport along with the two co-conspirators, Octavio Cesar Sana (42) and Angela Rose Vela (36) after undercover investigators lured him to the US to coordinate the purchase of counterfeit goods.

Du arrived for the meeting with samples of counterfeit iPhone components, according to the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation.

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