On June 17, 2021, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California unsealed an indictment that accuses five defendants of having conspired to unlawfully export thermal imaging riflescopes and night-visions goggles to Russia. All five defendants are charged with conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The defendants could face an additional five years in prison for allegedly conspiring to smuggle thermal imaging devices from the U.S. and conspiring to file false export information in order to conceal their activities.

The five defendants allegedly participated in a nearly four-year scheme purchasing dozens of thermal imaging devices – which cost between $5,000 and $10,000 and are controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) – from a variety of sellers across the United States. The indictment states that the individuals used aliases to obtain the devices, hid the thermal imaging devices among other non-export-controlled items when exporting them to Russia, and falsely declared that the contents of their exports were non-export-controlled items valued at less than $2,500. In no case did any of the defendants obtain a required export license to export defense articles to Russia.

The Press Release is available here.

For more information on actions related to Russia and ITAR, contact our team and see previous posts below.

UPDATE: Export Control Agencies Coordinated Response Target Russia for Prohibited Chemical Weapon Activities | International Trade Law (cmtradelaw.com)

DDTC Issues 2nd Extension to Certain Temporary Suspensions, Modifications, and Exceptions to ITAR Due to COVID-19 | International Trade Law (cmtradelaw.com)