Two men, Paul Grillo and Raymond Lawson, recently pled guilty to obstructing a federal auditor. The men were owners of a company, Barrier Wear, which was importing American military clothes from a Mexican factory. Sounds harmless enough, but federal law requires the Department of Defense to buy clothing and equipment made in America only.
When the trousers arrived at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales in October 2009, a customs inspector noticed the country-of-origin labels on the trousers were not permanently affixed, as is required by federal law.
The company made an attempt to conceal their imported clothing by using misleading tags that read “Assembled in Mexico of U.S. components.” This involved at least $48 million in clothing items. Not only was this a violation of federal law, but it was also resulting in sub-par gear being issued to service members. Low-quality boots, trousers, and other items were being worn by service members around the world without their knowing. Many of the items, in fact, came from China.
This type of business practice is all sorts of wrong. Not only is it taking away from the American economy, but it meant that our service members were given equipment that was below the standard that has been set in regards to quality.
Grillo and Lawson are facing up to five years in prison for their actions.