Charleston-based JDM tuner shop busted for illegally importing a R33 GTR
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    1. #1
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      Charleston-based JDM tuner shop busted for illegally importing a R33 GTR

      Feds seize '2 Fast, 2 Furious' car, say North Charleston business illegally imported vehicle

      By David Wren dwren@postandcourier.com

      This illegal 1996 Nissan Skyline "started without any issues" after federal agents jump-started its battery, according to court documents. Provided/U.S. Attorney's Office
      A North Charleston business is being accused of smuggling after a random inspection of a cargo container turned up a car that's popular with collectors because of its good looks and high speeds but illegal to import into the United States.

      All JDM Motors at 7411 Industry Drive also is accused in federal court documents of failing to report some auto parts and under-reporting the value of others shipped to the Port of Charleston in the container, which was among cargo the Grasmere Maersk vessel brought to the port's Wando Welch Terminal earlier this year.

      When they opened the container, inspectors with Customs and Border Protection say they found a bubble-wrapped 1996 Nissan R-33 Skyline automobile that had been placed atop two rows of used engines, transmissions and other parts.

      Federal agents located the ignition key, jump-started the battery and the Skyline "started up without any issues," according to court documents.

      The owners of JDM Motors — Ali Dost Mohammad Ali and Mohammad Didar Alizada, both Canadian citizens — could not be reached for comment Tuesday. No charges had been filed as of Tuesday.

      According to the search warrant, the Skyline was described on shipping documents as a "used breakdown car" worth $810. An import specialist working for the federal government determined that the car was valued at $51,355.39.

      Investigators this month served a search warrant on All JDM Motors, seizing a desktop computer, a laptop computer and miscellaneous documents to determine whether other illegal vehicles have been smuggled into the country by the North Charleston business.

      "It appears JDM may have smuggled and not declared another whole or half vehicle in an earlier container," according to court documents that show a photo of another car posted on All JDM Motors' Facebook page in December.

      All told, the North Charleston business has imported 18 cargo boxes through the Port of Charleston since December 2014, most of them from the same supplier in Japan.

      Nissan's Skyline is among vehicles banned by Congress in 1988 because they do not meet federal emissions or safety standards. The ban applies to new and used models that are less than 25 years old. Court documents show the Skyline allegedly imported by All JDM Motors would need about $20,000 worth of modifications to be legal to drive in the United States.

      Car collectors say speed is the main reason the Skyline is banned. The vehicle, featured in the film "2 Fast 2 Furious," can reach speeds topping 150 mph.

      In addition to smuggling, federal agents say All JDM Motors undervalued the Skyline and auto parts in the container by more than $107,000 to avoid duty and other fees.

      "JDM is under investigation for falsely classifying their merchandise, undervaluing their merchandise and smuggling goods into the United States," court documents state.

      The smuggling charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years while the other charges are punishable by fines or prison sentences of up to two years.
      The Post and Courier

      Other than the stupid title (whatever happened to basic fact-checking?) and the ludicrous reason why it's banned in the U.S. aside, I don't know why these idiots continue to flout the law by importing vehicles that are clearly not legal yet. Because of these idiots, another R33 GTR will bite the dust and become scrap heap due to the need to be shady for short-term gain

      Why do these shady importers assume they can fool US Customs?
      Last edited by DUBPL8; 05-17-2017 at 02:09 PM. Reason: 'float' to 'flout'

    2. #2
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      Quote Originally Posted by DUBPL8 View Post
      I don't know why these idiots continue to float the law

      I'll trade you a 'u' for your 'a'

    3. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by FastGTi View Post
      I'll trade you a 'u' for your 'a'
      Done deal.

    4. #4
      Member George Bluth's Avatar
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      "A North Charleston business is being accused of smuggling after a random inspection of a cargo container turned up a car that's popular with collectors because of its good looks and high speeds but illegal to import into the United States."

      Wao, much journalism, very write.

      Anyway, considering the small percentage of containers that are actually randomly searched at port, sounds like these guys just got unlucky.

      Oh well, try again.

    5. #5
      I know of a guy that buys jdm cars all the time. No idea how he gets them here but he has them titled as "show and display" apparently he can drive them 5k miles a year.. Currently he has 3 r34gtr's. He buys and flips them for huge amounts of money yet seems to have no legal issues. Every week he will show up in a different car. Last time I saw him was a polo gti RHD awesome car. Before that was a r34 gtr

    6. #6
      Senior Member AZGolf's Avatar
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      Ali Dost Mohammad Ali and Mohammad Didar Alizada, both Canadian citizens
      Apparently we need to build a wall against Canada too, as it sounds like it was these Canadians who were the real problem.

    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by AZGolf View Post
      Apparently we need to build a wall against Canada too, as it sounds like it was these Canadians who were the real problem.
      Bet they were from Mississauga

    8. #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Cameron1152 View Post
      I know of a guy that buys jdm cars all the time. No idea how he gets them here but he has them titled as "show and display" apparently he can drive them 5k miles a year.. Currently he has 3 r34gtr's. He buys and flips them for huge amounts of money yet seems to have no legal issues. Every week he will show up in a different car. Last time I saw him was a polo gti RHD awesome car. Before that was a r34 gtr
      I think your friend is either feeding you a load of BS or you've gotten your stories/facts messed up.
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    9. #9
      Member core5's Avatar
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      undervaluing their merchandise
      How could they?!

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    10. #10
      Member chucchinchilla's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by DUBPL8 View Post
      Other than the stupid title (whatever happened to basic fact-checking?) and the ludicrous reason why it's banned in the U.S. aside, I don't know why these idiots continue to flout the law by importing vehicles that are clearly not legal yet. Because of these idiots, another R33 GTR will bite the dust and become scrap heap due to the need to be shady for short-term gain

      Why do these shady importers assume they can fool US Customs?
      According to NHTSA's List of Nonconforming Vehicles Eligible for Importation, the R33 is legal to import. I think the issue here is they were cheating their way out of VAT.

      In case you're curious to see the list...https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.do...elig120115.pdf
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      This forum is more and more of an embarrassment every day...

    11. #11
      Geriatric Member Aonarch's Avatar
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      Whoops

    12. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by chucchinchilla View Post
      According to NHTSA's List of Nonconforming Vehicles Eligible for Importation, the R33 is legal to import. I think the issue here is they were cheating their way out of VAT.

      In case you're curious to see the list...https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.do...elig120115.pdf
      Ah, that makes a lot of sense now.

    13. #13
      Member Deltac's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by DUBPL8 View Post
      Ah, that makes a lot of sense now.
      When you import a vehicle, you need to state how much it's worth. In theory you should have some proof to what the vehicle is worth, like a bill of sale if it's a used vehicle. You also have to be smart, because if the car appears to be worth more than what you stated, customs will 'revalue' the car to what they think it's worth.

      Also something I think no one has mentioned is that by filing the value under $2500, means they can do an 'informal entry' which means they don't even need a broker for the import. Also means less money to import stuff overall, less to pay the customs for duties etc. I'm just surprised they thought they could bring in an R33 which not only is not road legal yet (although you can get exemptions; show car, special edition) but also undervalued it hugely.

      Pretty silly, but look forward to seeing how this turns out
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    14. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by Deltac View Post
      When you import a vehicle, you need to state how much it's worth. In theory you should have some proof to what the vehicle is worth, like a bill of sale if it's a used vehicle. You also have to be smart, because if the car appears to be worth more than what you stated, customs will 'revalue' the car to what they think it's worth.

      Also something I think no one has mentioned is that by filing the value under $2500, means they can do an 'informal entry' which means they don't even need a broker for the import. Also means less money to import stuff overall, less to pay the customs for duties etc. I'm just surprised they thought they could bring in an R33 which not only is not road legal yet (although you can get exemptions; show car, special edition) but also undervalued it hugely.

      Pretty silly, but look forward to seeing how this turns out
      Not proud of it, but I did the same thing with the total value of the vehicle when I exported my totaled Evo to France in early 2005...at the behest of the logistics firm that was helping me with the process.

    15. #15
      Quote Originally Posted by chucchinchilla View Post
      According to NHTSA's List of Nonconforming Vehicles Eligible for Importation, the R33 is legal to import. I think the issue here is they were cheating their way out of VAT.

      In case you're curious to see the list...https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.do...elig120115.pdf
      It's legal because Motorex crash tested them. As long as the proper modifications are made to conform with vehicles circa '95, they can be imported legally. The R34 is the forbidden fruit.

    16. #16
      Member Deltac's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by DUBPL8 View Post
      Not proud of it, but I did the same thing with the total value of the vehicle when I exported my totaled Evo to France in early 2005...at the behest of the logistics firm that was helping me with the process.
      lol yeah well I'm not surprised since it was leaving the country rather than coming in.
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    17. #17
      As said above, R33 is on the "legal non-conforming"'list and is definitely legal as long as the NHTSA approved modifications are made before delivery. Sounds like these guys tested the system, had success skirting it, and got VERY greedy. They were just asking for it with the ridiculous claimed values.

    18. #18

      Car collectors say speed is the main reason the Skyline is banned. The vehicle, featured in the film "2 Fast 2 Furious," can reach speeds topping 150 mph.
      Ummm... wut?

      - Lots of cars easily go over 150 mph. The issue is that it does not confirm to the federal emissions or safety standards. That's it. Not top speed.
      - Those cars were popular before it was in a movie, and will continue to be popular afterwards but not because of a movie.
      - That movie was the first film in the franchise, not the second one.
      - It's not even the same actual vehicle that was in the movie, so what does the movie have to do with anything?

      Geez who writes these things? Can anyone call themselves an author nowadays? This is the kind of crap writing typically seen on Jalopnik.

    19. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by LG6R View Post
      This is the kind of crap writing typically seen on Jalopnik.
      lol ironic you say that

    20. #20
      Member VadGTI's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by freedomgli View Post
      I think your friend is either feeding you a load of BS or you've gotten your stories/facts messed up.
      He probably gets them in like 99% of other JDM importers. Throws them in a container with parts (or hidden behind a bunch of crap) and pray that the container isn't one of the 3-5% that Customs actually pops open to inspect the goods. These guys just lost that lottery.


      Quote Originally Posted by chucchinchilla View Post
      According to NHTSA's List of Nonconforming Vehicles Eligible for Importation, the R33 is legal to import. I think the issue here is they were cheating their way out of VAT.

      In case you're curious to see the list...https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.do...elig120115.pdf

      Quote Originally Posted by surefooted View Post
      It's legal because Motorex crash tested them. As long as the proper modifications are made to conform with vehicles circa '95, they can be imported legally. The R34 is the forbidden fruit.

      Only '96-'98 airbag-equipped GT-Rs, but they'd have to be OBD2 compliant. In rescinding the petition for all other R-chassis Skylines, the government basically ignored the 800 '95 GT-Rs that were airbag-equipped because they were pissed at Motorex.

      Here's Sean Morris's take on it:

      This will no doubt start some discussion.

      Back in 1998-1999 a company called MotoRex with JK Technologies did crash testing on Nissan Skyline’s. Prior to doing any testing, the NHTSA, OVSC was contacted about what they wanted to see for the testing. The models and years of cars were explained, and it was understood by JK, MotoRex, and the NHTSA that the R33 dual airbag was the best choice of car for crash testing. The OVSC wanted to see, on the R33 a front, rear, and side impact test.

      The picture here is the side impact test. Just to the left of the picture is Jonathan from JK Tech. Along with Jonathan, Hiro, Sean, and Nick were at the test. We guess the guys from MGA Labs in Wisconsin thought that it was funny if they put us in the glass spray area. Even from where we stood, we were hit with glass at head level. No wonder they gave us goggles.

      After all the crash testing, the information was submitted to the OVSC, along with eventually new information on the 1999 R34 as it became available. Some slightly different modifications were required for the R34, and those were submitted and accepted by the NHTSA.

      Motorex though JK Motors filed their petition that 1990-1999 Nissan Skylines would be able to be brought into compliance with FMVSS(Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards). The NHTSA DOT issued the first “bond release” November 15, 1999. It was for an R32 GT-R that we affectionately called McNasty. VCP-17 wasn’t published into the Federal Register until January 19, 2000.

      “This document announces the decision by NHTSA that 1990-1999 Nissan GTS and GTR Passenger cars not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards are eligible for importation into the United States because they have safety features that comply with, or are capable of being altered to comply with such standards.”

      At first everything was going good, cars were being imported, brought into compliance, and being sold. From 1999-2002 I (Sean) worked at MotoRex, but eventually I would reach the end of what I would put up with. The owner, Hiro was spending a lot too much time playing and partying, and not enough time paying attention to the business. This caused me several conflicts, and I left in April 2002.

      After I left, there were not that many people that knew as much as I did about the compliance, and the modifications required for compliance. Hiro’s party ways loaded heavily on the employees and customers.

      By 2005 at MotoRex there were many cars held up and customers were complaining. I loved dealing with the GT-R’s, but I didn’t like what Hiro was doing. By 2006, I had MotoRex customers calling and asking for help, so I decided to meet up with Hiro and see what I could do to help try and get some of the “stuck” cars finished. Hiro had burned many bridges, so I was going to see if I could help at least get the cars that were here bond released.

      Money became an issue, and Hiro got caught up owing people money and cars. He sold the same car several times, and he some how was convinced one guy had stolen several cars from him. At some point in 2006, Hiro was arrested for attempted kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. He was eventually acquitted, after spending several months in jail, and we have not heard of him since. So in the end it was money that was the downfall of MotoRex.

      Eventually the NHTSA partially rescinded VCP-17 which covered 1990-1999 Nissan Skylines, to VCP-32 which only covered 1996-1998 R33 GT-R’s. Even though its possible to prove the 1989-1999 Nissan Skylines are all “substantially similar” underneath, the NHTSA just wanted to minimize/stop the import of the Nissan Skyline.

      Its also possible to show the 800 R33 GT-R’s in 1995 that had dual airbags by chassis number.
      And the pic that went along with that post:

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    21. #21
      I hibernate. Just like the Turtles! GoHomePossum's Avatar
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      I can't believe these guys didn't think this would happen. The risk is huge. There is no way I would put a 1998 Mitsubishi Jeep final edition in a container full of parts and have NYK Logistics ship it to New York.
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    22. #22
      Quote Originally Posted by VadGTI View Post
      He probably gets them in like 99% of other JDM importers. Throws them in a container with parts (or hidden behind a bunch of crap) and pray that the container isn't one of the 3-5% that Customs actually pops open to inspect the goods. These guys just lost that lottery.
      3-5% of containers may get x-rayed and/or tested for radioactivity but far less actually get opened. Basically if they're opening your container, they already suspect something isn't right. Plus the 3-5% that even get x-rayed aren't really random: they're on suspect shipping routes, or from smaller importers, or anything else that otherwise looks suspicious or out of the ordinary. Customs isn't going to waste their time with all of the boxes going to Walmart, target, amazon, etc. every week on the same regular routes by huge importers that have very strict internal security and inventory protocols. They also have the most accurate bills of lading and make sure to always pay correct import duties. It's not worth the risk to the big guys to have a container full of new flat screens get seized to save a bit on tariffs. It would also be an incredible task to get something illegal into one of Walmart's boxes when it's loaded in China and then have it taken out unnoticed by Walmart stateside. You'd have to have so many people in on it. So, these guys were likely targeted by NHTSA and/or customs, and not just unlucky, which seems probable since they were selling the illegally imported cars online.

      I love that the value of the car was down to the penny, $51,355.39.


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    23. #23
      Senior Member A.Wilder's Avatar
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      They probably pissed someone off who tipped off customs.
      signatures are annoying, right?

    24. #24
      Member WalterKohn's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by A.Wilder View Post
      They probably pissed someone off who tipped off customs.
      This

      I suspect someone didn't get there appropriate cut for this deal. Especially if hes only claming 810$ and its really a 50K$ figure.
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    25. #25
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      Quote Originally Posted by GoHomePossum View Post
      I can't believe these guys didn't think this would happen. The risk is huge. There is no way I would put a 1998 Mitsubishi Jeep final edition in a container full of parts and have NYK Logistics ship it to New York.
      This was subtle, but I think I know what you're replacing your current Jeep with.

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