Texas Company Sold Possibly Tainted Fuel to NASA for SpaceX Rocket Launches: Feds

spacex nasa tainted fuel

Getty Anahuac Transport is accused of selling possibly tainted rocket fuel to NASA.

Anahuac Transport is a Texas company convicted of fraud after federal prosecutors in Houston say they sold potentially tainted rocket fuel to NASA for use on SpaceX and DOD flights. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas announced on February 23, 2022, that Anahuac Transport had pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

“Anahuac admitted to falsifying its records and delivering potentially tainted rocket fuel for NASA and Department of Defense (DOD) rocket launches,” federal prosecutors said in a news release. “NASA and DOD entered into contracts with various companies, including Space Explorations Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), to launch rockets with supplies for the International Space Station and with military payloads.”

The release added, “These companies procured fuel for the rocket launches and contracted for transportation of the fuel to the launch sites. Anahuac was in the business of hauling chemicals in tanker trailers. From approximately 2012 through 2020, NASA and DOD subcontracted Anahuac to transport the rocket fuel.”

Federal prosecutors said the company’s representatives, Gary Monteau and Brant Charpiot, admitted their guilt as a corporation during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett in Houston on February 23. Bennett will sentence the company on May 12, 2022. The company’s corporate representatives, Monteau and Charpiot, are not facing criminal charges as individuals.

According to prosecutors, Anahuac agreed to forfeit money received from the NASA contract. Bennett could also sentence the company to a fine of up to $500,000 and the company could serve up to five years of probation. Anahuac and its attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Heavy on Houston. This story will be updated if statements are provided.

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Anahuac Falsified Documents to Cover Up It Hadn’t Ensured Its Tanker Trailers Had Previously Hauled Chemicals That Are ‘Incompatible’ With Rocket Fuel

Federal prosecutors said in its press release, “To prevent contamination, Anahuac was required to ensure the tanker trailer they used did not previously contain certain chemicals that may have adverse reactions with the fuel. However, Anahuac intentionally falsified its documents, claiming it had not previously hauled incompatible chemicals with its tanker trailers. In fact, it had.”

Prosecutors added, “Anahuac transported the rocket fuel with its contaminated trailers. As a result, NASA used the fuel for rocket launches.” Court documents state that the “incompatible substances” that Anahuac had previously hauled could react with the fuel.

According to court documents, the industry standard is to provide a “wash certificate,” which is a form that is created by a specialized cleaning company showing what chemical was previously in a tank, certifying it has been cleaned. Federal prosecutors said Anahuac falsified the wash certificates. Prosecutors said Anahuac was contracted to transport RP-1 and JP-10 fuel to launch sites and elsewhere for NASA.

Prosecutors said in court documents, “Anahuac caused the false wash certificates that it created to be provided by email and, at times, also by hard copy to its contracting partners with the intent that the false wash certificates be relied upon by its contracting partners, other contractors and the government in launching rockets and in conducting other activities. Anahuac submitted documentation to its contracting partners that contained the false wash certificates in order to induce payment of Anahuac by the contracting partners.”

Anahuac Agreed to Forfeit $251,401 & Will Be Barred From Entering Into Contracts With the Federal Government for 2 Years, Prosecutors Say

According to federal prosecutors, Monteau and Charpiot, “have entered voluntary exclusions with the United States in which each agrees to be banned from federal government contracting for two years. As part of their plea, Anahuac also agreed to forfeit $251,401, which constitutes gross proceeds traceable to the commission of the offense. The court entered a money judgment against Anahuac in that amount.”

Federal prosecutors said, “NASA – Office of Inspector General (OIG) and DOD – OIG conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Johnson is prosecuting the case.” The charges were filed against Anahuac in November 2021 in the Southern District of Texas federal court.

According to its website, “Anahuac Transport, Inc is setting the standard for bulk liquid chemical and petroleum products transportation in the United States. Anahuac Transport provides superior transportation services and logistic solutions. No matter your needs, we can tailor a custom transportation solution to meet your requirements.” The website says Anahuac is a “proven carrier of liquid bulk chemicals and petroleum products. Our focus is the reliable, efficient, secure delivery of your products.”

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