Eighteen people have been indicted in a scheme that involved the theft of raw copper from an Asarco LLC mine in Hayden, Ariz. Some of the copper was disguised as scrap metal and sold to China on the black market, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne says that the copper was then blacked to make it look like scrap metal to fool U.S. Customs officers, shipped to China from Los Angeles ports and sold on the black market below the going commodity price rates.
Charges for the defendants include money laundering, theft, conspiracy, fraudulent schemes and illegal enterprise charges. Some include individual theft totaling more than $100,000 worth of copper.