25 August – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The owner of Ontario-based Global Composites International, Inc., a company that manufactures compressed-gas cylinders that are used in high-end paint ball guns, has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he failed to properly test the cylinders, which can explode if they fail to meet safety standards.
Krishna Lal Agrawal, 61, of Diamond Bar, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon to manufacturing cylinders in violation of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Act. Agrawal also pleaded guilty to illegally transporting cylinders.
Global Composites had obtained an “exemption,” or permit, from the United States Department of Transportation to manufacture carbon fiber filament cylinders that are used to transport compressed gases, which are designated as a hazardous material. Global Composites’s cylinders, which had a wholesale value of approximately $100 each, were used in paint ball guns. The DOT exemption required that Global Composites hydrostatically test each cylinder before sale. Hydrostatic testing is used to determine whether the walls of the cylinder have become weakened or brittle and, therefore, could be subject to rupture. Ruptured cylinders pose a serious safety threat because they have a tendency to explode and launch at high speeds, which can cause serious bodily injury.
On July 13, 2005, federal agents executed a search warrant at Global Composites. The agents learned that Agrawal may have been preparing to ship cylinders that had failed DOT-required safety tests.
Agrawal admitted yesterday that in May and June 2005, he had knowingly and willfully sold at least 110 cylinders that were not properly hydrostatically tested. He sold the cylinders to customers that produce paint gun parts and accessories in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Santa Fe Springs, California.
Agrawal pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Nora M. Manella, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on November 21. At sentencing, Agrawal faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
This case was investigated by the United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These agencies received assistance from the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.