Homeland Security executes search warrant at Moraine business

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Homeland Security investigators executed a search warrant Thursday in Moraine, a Homeland Security spokesman said Thursday.

“It’s part of an ongoing federal investigation,” the spokesman said, adding, “There’s no threat to public safety at this time.”

He would not be more precise about where the warrant was served or why it was served.

Moraine police confirmed there was search warrant activity at Harco Manufacturing, on Kettering Boulevard, saying they assisted with the investigation from about 10 a.m. until nearly 3 p.m. Thursday.

Industrial Commercial Properties LLC bought the Moraine Harco plant in 2020. Dean Miller, a Dayton-area ICP executive, declined to comment Thursday.

On Friday, a Harco company representative declined to comment on the investigation.

The plant at 3535 Kettering Blvd. sold in October 2020 from Kettering Woodbine LLC to Moraine 3535 Kettering LLC, according to Montgomery County and state records. The building sold along with nearly 18 acres. The sale price was $3.16 million.

Chris Semarjian, principal of Industrial Commercial Properties, based near Cleveland, said his firm bought the plant.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

“We’re going to hold it,” Semarjian told this newspaper in 2020. “Obviously, we’re very bullish on Moraine, and the facility is very, very contemporary, with the ceiling heights and the power and the loading and the location. And we just think it’s a good asset to hold, especially with our Moraine holding.

Moraine-based Harco Manufacturing Group LLC was acquired by a Chinese automotive industry supplier in 2015. At the time, Sunsong Holdings Inc. said it planned to retain Harco’s 100 employees.

Sunsong Holdings was the U.S. subsidiary of Qingdao Sunsong Co. Ltd., headquartered in Qingdao, China. Sunsong was a manufacturer of brake hoses in China.

Last September, Republican members of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party urged Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to take action against Qingdao Sunsong. Those members accused the company of “a pattern of blatant trade fraud and tariff evasion that has had a catastrophic impact on American manufacturers.”

Sunsong’s tariff evasion forced a company in U.S. Rep. Darin La Hood’s Illinois district to lay off a quarter of its workforce, the committee said last September.

“Reviews of Qingdao Sunsong’s public disclosures lay out a case of blatant trade fraud that is having a catastrophic impact on American manufacturers,” Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and LaHood wrote. “Indeed, one American company has been compelled to accumulate significant debt, divest itself of two business divisions and most recently lay off one-quarter of its workforce due to Sunsong’s trade fraud. If swift action is not taken, the affected company will be forced to permanently cease its operations.”

It is not clear precisely what materials law enforcement officials were gathering from the Harco site, or whether they were connected to the Congressional complaints about Qingdao Sunsong.

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