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ICE

October 2005

Fact Sheet

ICE ARMS & STRATEGIC TECHNOLOGY INVESTIGATIONS

One of the highest priorities of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security is to prevent terrorist groups and hostile nations from illegally obtaining U.S. military products and sensitive technology, including weapons of mass destruction components. ICE’s Arms and Strategic Technology Investigations (ASTI) Unit is responsible for investigating such violations. In fiscal year 2004, ICE’s ASTI Unit worked on more than 2,500 investigations into the illegal export of U.S. munitions and sensitive technology, made 122 arrests, obtained 95 indictments and received 70 convictions.

Through an industry outreach program called “Project Shield America,” ICE’s ASTI Unit is also visiting U.S. manufacturers of arms and sensitive technology to educate them about export laws and to solicit their assistance in preventing illegal foreign acquisition of their products. Since late 2001, ICE agents have conducted more than 11,700 industry outreach presentations, resulting in tips that have led to ICE criminal investigations nationwide and worldwide.

Some recent illegal export investigations by ICE include:

  • U.S. Fighter Jet Components to Iran - On July 6, 2005, Iranian businessman Abbas Tavakolian, 58, was sentenced to 57 months incarceration and 2 years supervised release pursuant to pleading guilty to Arms Export Control Act and money laundering violations. Tavakolian pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme to illegally export F-4 and F-14 fighter jet components to Iran. Beginning in January 2004, Tavakolian and his son-in-law Hossein Vaezi, sought to obtain 100 gunnery systems for the U.S. fighter jets from suppliers in Maryland for export to Iran. Undercover ICE agents later met with Tavakolian in Europe to discuss the transactions. Tavakolian arranged for $20,000 to be wired to undercover ICE agents as a down payment for the arms deal, which totaled approximately $380,000. In December 2004, Tavakolian met undercover ICE agents in the South Pacific to finalize the deal with $100,000 in cash. He was arrested after additional undercover meetings in which he sought to acquire several fully assembled F-14 fighter jet aircraft for future shipment to Iran.

  • Night Vision Technology and Electronics Components to China - On May 6, 2004,Zhao Xin ZHU and John CHU were arrested for Conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act (AECA): 22 USC 2778 and 18 USC 371. On May 18, 2004, a Federal grand jury convened in the District of Massachusetts, during which Sunny BAI, ZHU and CHU were indicted for conspiracy to violate the AECA: 18 USC 371. In May 2003, SAC Boston agents received information that BAI was attempting to obtain U.S. origin Generation III night vision equipment, military grade power converters and traveling wave tubes used in satellite and radar applications for export to the PRC. Undercover agents confirmed a contract for $163,000 worth of military grade power converters for export to the PRC with ZHU, CHU and BAI. In mid-February 2004, agents received a wire transfer in the amount of $48,882.00, representing a down payment for the power converters. On September 12, 2005, CHU was found not guilty by jury trial pursuant to his charge of conspiracy, 18 USC 371. On September 28, 2005, Zhao Xin ZHU was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release pursuant to his guilty plea to one count of conspiracy, 18 USC 371, on May 6, 2005.

  • U.S. Fighter Jet Components to Jordan - On June 15, 2005, Arif Ali Durrani, a Pakistani national, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport pursuant to a sealed indictment in the Central District of California charging him with two counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act. The indictment alleged that in 1994, Durrani illegally exported more than 100 compressor blades for the General Electric J-85 military aircraft engine through his now defunct company, Lonestar Aerospace. Durrani has a previous 1987 conviction for illegally exporting HAWK missile components to Iran. It is suspected that after Durrani served his sentence he began living in Mexico. Mexican authorities arrested Durrani on June 12, 2005, for being illegally in Mexico. Durrani was being deported to Pakistan when ICE agents met his connecting flight in Los Angeles and took him into custody. In November of 2004, an additional investigation out of San Diego, California, was initiated into the activities of Durrani for the illegal export of aircraft parts to various countries. On September 26, 2005, as a result of the San Diego investigation, Durrani was arrested via a criminal complaint obtained in the Southern District of California for conspiracy (18 USC 371) to violate 22 USC 2778, Arms Export Control Act (AECA). On September 26, 2005, the charges from the Central District of California were dismissed. On September 29, 2005, in the Southern District of California, a grand jury returned a true bill indicting Arif Ali DURRANI, a Pakistani citizen, on one count of Title 18, U.S.C. 371, Conspiracy and four counts of Title 22 U.S.C. 2778, Arms Export Control Act (AECA). Pursuant to this investigation, one co-conspirator pleaded guilty to a conspiracy violation in August 2005 and sentencing is scheduled for November 2005. Further, on October 18, 2005, a second DURRANI co-conspirator pleaded guilty to three counts of Title 22 U.S.C. 2778, AECA. Both co-conspirators have agreed to testify against Durrani.

  • Assault Rifles to Colombian Terrorist Organization - On April 19, 2005, ICE agents arrested Alberto Correa, a Colombian national, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on charges of violating the Arms Export Control Act. During several undercover meetings with ICE agents, Correa had negotiated and attempted to purchase 80 AK-47 assault rifles, an M-60 machinegun, and an M-16 machine gun for illegal export to the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) in Colombia, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. On June 8, 2005, Correa pled guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act. Subsequent investigation resulted in the arrest and subsequent convictions of two co-conspirators for violations of the Arms Export Control Act. Further, a federal grand jury has issued a true bill indictment of the two additional co-conspirators. This investigation is ongoing.

  • Missile and Fighter Jet Components to China - On April 12, 2005, Xiuwen “Jennifer” Liang, 34, was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment and fined $6,000 in Los Angeles for conspiring to illegally export parts for the F-14 fighter jet and as well as components for the HAWK, TOW and AIM-9 Sidewinder missile systems to China. ICE agents arrested Liang and her husband, Jinghua Zhuang, 48, in February 2003 as a result of a lengthy undercover investigation targeting U.S. companies that illegally sold defense articles over the Internet to foreign buyers. Zhuang was previously sentenced to 30 months imprisonment for his role in the scheme. The couple owned a company in Thousand Oaks, California, called Maytone International.

  • Components with Nuclear Weapons Applications to Pakistan & India - On April 8, 2005, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia unsealed an indictment against Humayun Khan, 47, of Pakistan, charging him with illegally exporting oscilloscopes with nuclear weapons applications to Pakistan. Kahn was also charged with plotting to illegally export 66 nuclear detonator devices from the U.S. to Pakistan, via South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. On the same day, prosecutors announced that Asher Karni, 51, an Israeli national who resided in South Africa, pleaded guilty to charges that he worked with Khan to illegally export the oscilloscopes and nuclear triggers to Pakistan. Karni also pleaded guilty to charges that he illegally exported sensitive U.S. electronics to facilities in India that are involved in that nation’s nuclear and missile development program. The indictment of Khan and the guilty plea by Karni resulted from an extensive investigation by Commerce Department and ICE agents in Boston, Denver, and South Africa. Khan, who operated Pakland PME Corporation in Pakistan, remains at large. Karni, who owned Top-Cape Technology in South Africa, was recently sentenced to 36 months incarceration. The investigation is ongoing.

  • Iran Embargo Violations - On April 6, 2005, a grand jury in the Northern District of Oklahoma returned an indictment against Gastech Engineering Corporation for evading and avoiding the Iranian Transaction Regulations in connection with a $12 million contract it signed with the National Iranian Gas Company using businesses located in Canada. The President and CEO of Gastech, Parviz Khosrowyar, a U.S. citizen of Iranian descent, was previously indicted on the same charges but failed to appear for trial on March 28, 2005. An Interpol red notice has been issued worldwide for Khosrowyar’s arrest. The indictments resulted from an ICE investigation in Oklahoma. On June 9, 2005, a true bill and superceding five-count indictment was returned charging Khosrowyar and Gastech with conspiracy, and violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Khosrowyar was also indicted for his failure to appear at the aforementioned trial. A tentative trial date has been scheduled for February 2006.

  • Assault Rifles to Colombian Terrorist Organization - On April 1, 2005, Guillermo Cardoso-Arias, 55, a Colombian citizen and resident of South Florida, was sentenced to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty in federal court in Miami to illegal arms brokering activities and attempting to illegally export 200 fully-automatic AK-47 assault rifles without the required U.S. export license. The guilty plea resulted from a joint investigation by ICE, ATF, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. In law enforcement monitored conversations, Cardoso-Arias stated that he was buying the AK-47s for the Autodefenseas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), a designated foreign terrorist organization in Colombia. He further stated that the weapons would be used to fight the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), another designated foreign terrorist organization.

  • Controlled Technology to Iran - On April 1, 2005, BEF Corporation in Allentown, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay civil and criminal penalties for illegally exporting goods to Iran and for making false statements to the government. An investigation by ICE and Department of Commerce agents revealed that BEF knowingly exported miniature photo labs to Iran without the required export licenses and made false statements on export documents to help BEF customers around the world avoid import duties. BEF is a company that buys photo-processing machines, refurbishes them, and resells the equipment throughout the world.

  • TOW Missiles to China - On March 25, 2005, ICE Detention & Removal Operations (DRO) officers in New York arrested Qamar Zaman Babar, a citizen of the United Kingdom and a native of Pakistan, on immigration charges. In March 1989, Babar was convicted in the United States of conspiracy to export TOW II missiles to China and later served his sentence. In 2001, Babar was encountered re-entering the United States and was served with a notice to appear in court under the Espionage provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. After being ordered deported by an Immigration Judge in 2003, Babar appealed. On March 3, 2005, the Bureau of Immigration Appeals affirmed the Immigration Judge’s decision and ordered him removed from the country. ICE DRO officers arrested him for deportation.

  • Military Night Vision Equipment to China - On March 4, 2005, a criminal information was filed against Howard Hsy in Seattle, Washington, for violation of the Arms Export Control Act. ICE agents launched an investigation into Hsy in August 2003 for the illegal export of plastic optical filters suitable for night vision lighting, night vision goggles with helmet mounts for fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, as well as liquid crystal displays that can be integrated into avionics. In August 2003, Hsy was arrested for espionage in Taiwan, where he remains in custody. On October 12, 2005, a U.S. citizen who conspired with HSY to obtain night vision goggles for illegal export pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Export Administration Act. HSY remains under house arrest in Taiwan pending adjudication of judicial proceedings.

  • Geiger Counters, Ammunition, and Other Goods to Syria – On March 1, 2005, a federal grand jury in Detroit returned a three-count indictment charging Matt Mihsen, of Dallas, Texas, with attempting to illegally export U.S. currency and numerous goods to Syria, as well as making false statements to federal agents. On February 15, 2005, ICE agents arrested Mihsen, a licensed private investigator, as he attempted to board a flight from Detroit to Damascus, Syria, with $13,000 in U.S. currency and a wide range of goods in his checked luggage, including Geiger counters, 9mm ammunition, bullet proof vests, stun guns, rifle scopes, and pepper spray. Mihsen claimed he was going to the Middle East to hunt down Osama bin Laden in order to collect U.S. reward money. On September 2, 2005, Mihsen pled guilty to 18 USC 922(e), Failure to declare Ammunition to an Air Carrier. On October 21, 2005, Mihsen was sentenced to time served and one year of supervised release.

  • Sensitive U.S. Technology to Iran – On March 1, 2005, a federal grand jury in Chicago returned a two-count indictment charging Juan Sevilla, the sales director of United Calibration Corp, of Huntington Beach, California, with attempting to illegally export sensitive U.S. technology to Iran in violation of the U.S. embargo on Iran. According to the indictment, Sevilla attempted to export a machine that measures the tensile strength of steel and related software technologies from California, through Chicago, to Iran, in violation of the embargo. Neither Sevilla nor United Calibration Corp had government authorization to export the product to Iran. The indictment resulted from an investigation by ICE agents in Chicago, with assistance from U.S. Department of Commerce agents. On September 14, 2005, Sevilla pleaded guilty to two counts of violating 50 USC Sections(s) 1702: International Emergency Economic Powers Act; and 1705(b): Iranian Transaction Regulations. Sevilla’s sentencing is set for December 1, 2005.

  • Experimental Aircraft and Sensitive Electronics to Iran by Convicted Nuclear Trafficker – On February 25, 2005, a federal indictment charging Ali Asghar Manzarpour, 43, of Brighton, United Kingdom, with five counts of violating the U.S. embargo on Iran was unsealed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The indictment alleged that Manzarpour attempted to illegally export a Berkut 360 experimental, single-engine aircraft from the U.S. to Iran via the U.K. The aircraft was intercepted in the U.K. Manzarpour also allegedly exported electrical components from the U.S. to Iran via Austria on four occasions between 2000 and 2004. Manzarpour was arrested in Warsaw, Poland, on February 17, 2005, by Polish authorities acting on a U.S. arrest warrant issued after a joint investigation by ICE agents in Chicago, the ICE Attaché in Austria, and Department of Commerce agents. Manzarpour had previously served nine months in British prisons after being convicted in May 1998 for attempting to export U.S.-origin maraging steel from Britain to Iran for nuclear purposes. At the time, British authorities noted that the high-strength steel, which is used to build centrifuges for enriching uranium, was destined for Iran’s nuclear weapons program. British authorities said Manzarpour had been working with the Iranian government for at least a decade. Manzarpour remains in the custody of Polish authorities at this time and additional enforcement actions are anticipated in the near future.

  • Weapons to Colombian Terrorist Group – On February 11, 2005, Carlos Gamarra-Murillo, 54, of Bucaramanga, Colombia, pleaded guilty in Tampa, Florida, to charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and violating the Arms Export Control Act. The plea was the result of an ICE investigation that showed Gamarra-Murillo plotted to provide nearly $4 million worth of arms to Colombia’s Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Gamarra-Murillo sought to illegally export roughly 4,000 grenades, 1,800 assault rifles, as well as 60 grenade launchers and 60 machine guns to Colombia via Venezuela. Gamarra-Murrillo allegedly offered to pay undercover ICE agents posing as weapons suppliers 60 percent of the payment in cocaine (2,000 kilograms) and the remainder in U.S. currency upon delivering the weapons shipment to a clandestine airstrip in Venezuela. Gamarra-Murrillo was arrested in April 2004 in Tampa after providing ICE agents with a down payment for the weapons. On August 8, 2005, Gamarra-Murrillo was sentenced to 25 years federal imprisonment.

  • Sensitive Night Vision Technology to Iran – On July 19, 2005, Erik Kyriacou was sentenced to 5 years probation, 4 months house arrest and ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution pursuant to an ICE investigation. On February 7, 2005, Kyriacou, a former NBC cameraman and resident of Long Island, NY, pled guilty in Philadelphia to a four-count indictment charging him with attempting to illegally export sensitive Astroscope night vision lenses to Iran. The lenses had been stolen from NBC News in New York. According to court documents, Kyriacou was attempting to sell the lenses on the Internet via e-bay to undercover ICE agents posing as international arms brokers. Undercover agents informed Kyriacou that the lenses would be going to Iran in violation of the Iranian embargo and other export laws. Kyriacou agreed to the sale and illegally exported the devices to undercover ICE agents believing that they were destined for Iran. On April 12, 2004, ICE agents arrested Kyriacou in Newark, NJ.

  • Controlled Items to Iranian Ballistic Missile Facility – On February 2, 2005, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced a four-count superseding indictment charging Mohammed Farahbakhsh, Hamid Fathololoomy, as well as their U.A.E.-based companies Diamond Technology, and Akeed Trading Company, with conspiring to illegally export goods to Iran via the U.A.E. The indictment alleges that the defendants shipped computer goods from a Texas company to an entity in Iran affiliated with that nation’s ballistic missile program. In addition, the indictment alleges that they illegally exported a satellite communication system and other goods to Iran. Originally, Farahbakhsh was charged with illegally exporting pressure sensors from a Connecticut company to Iran. Department of Commerce, ICE, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service agents conducted the investigation. Agents arrested Farahbakhsh, an Iranian national and naturalized U.S. citizen, in Los Angeles on October 20, 2004. In April 2005, Farahbakhsh pleaded guilty to criminal charges. On September 22, 2005, Farahbakhsh was sentenced to time served.

  • Military Laser Sights to Foreign Locations – On April 27, 2005, Sotaro Inami, a Japanese national, was sentenced to 15 months incarceration for conspiracy to export U.S. Munitions List articles to Japan. On January 28, 2005, Inami pled guilty in federal court in Philadelphia to one count of conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act. Inami, and a co-conspirator Takashi Matsubara had been charged in July 2004 as a result of an undercover ICE and Defense Criminal Investigative Service investigation. According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to purchase and illegally export military laser sights for M-16 and M-5 rifles to locations outside the United States. Inami was arrested at the Los Angeles airport on February 17, 2004 after he arrived to attend a weapons show in Las Vegas. Matsubara remains a fugitive, but there are no plans to seek extradition. On May 25, 2005, Inami was subsequently deported from the United States.

  • Oil Burner Nozzles to Iran – On January 20, 2005, a New Jersey company called Nozzle Manufacturing Company, or Monarch Nozzle, pleaded guilty to a one-count information for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in connection with an effort to export oil burner nozzles to Germany, knowing that the devices would subsequently be illegally diverted to Iran. The case was investigated by agents from ICE and the Department of Commerce and began after border inspectors seized several burning nozzles being shipped to Germany in 1999. Subsequent investigation showed that the German recipient was shipping the nozzles to Iran. Pursuant to the guilty plea, Nozzle Manufacturing was ordered to pay a $10,000 criminal fine, and pay civil penalties in the amount of $10,000 to the Department of Commerce and Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control, respectively.

  • U.S. Missile Components to the Middle East - On December 15, 2004, Leib Kohn, 66, and his Brooklyn, NY, companies L&M Manufacturing Corporation and Nesco NY Incorporated, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act in U.S. District Court, Connecticut. ICE agents arrested Kohn in New York on March 19, 2004. According to the indictment, Kohn and his companies purchased from U.S. vendors sensitive U.S. military items, including components for HAWK missiles, military radars, and F-4 Phantom fighter jet aircraft. Kohn then exported these items to QPS, a company in Israel, while knowingly failing to obtain the required export license. ICE worked closely with the Israeli National Police, who searched the QPS facility in March 2004 and found the missile components illegally exported by Kohn. Israeli National Police arrested Eli Cohen after searching the QPS facility in Israel. Israeli authorities had investigated Cohen in the past for allegedly transferring arms to Iran. ICE and Israeli authorities do not believe the final destination of Kohn’s shipments was Israel. Kohn is awaiting sentencing.

  • U.S. Fighter Jet Components to Iran – On December 9, 2004, Sherzhik Avassapian pleaded guilty in federal court in Miami to one count of making false statements. Avassapian, a Tehran-based broker who asserted he worked on behalf of the Iranian Ministry of Defense, had been charged in December 2003, in a three-count superseding indictment with 1) conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act; 2) engaging in brokering activities with a prohibited nation (Iran), and 3) making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer. On September 18, 2003 ICE agents in Miami arrested Avassapian after he arrived in Miami on a flight from Europe to meet with undercover ICE agents and inspect U.S. military items. Documents outlining the proposed arms deal were found by ICE agents stuffed under the bed mattress in Avassapian’s Miami hotel room. The charges resulted from an undercover ICE investigation that revealed that Avassapian attempted to purchase in Florida and illegally export roughly $750,000 worth of U.S. F-14 fighter jet components to the Iranian military, via Italy. According to the indictment, Avassapian solicited these military parts from undercover ICE agents in the United States, and then discussed the transshipment of these parts through third countries, including Italy, to conceal Iran as the ultimate destination. Finally, he inspected the components in the United States and provided a down payment for their purchase. Avassapian also negotiated with undercover ICE agents over the illegal export of complete military helicopters and C-130 military aircraft electrical and avionic upgrades to Iran. On May 16, 2005, AVASSAPIAN was sentenced to 41 months federal imprisonment.

  • Chemical Weapons Components to Iraq – On December 6, 2004, Dutch authorities arrested Frans Van Anraat, 62, on charges of genocide for his role in supplying chemical weapons components to Iraq that were used by Saddam Hussein to gas thousands of Iraqi Kurds in 1988. The charges stemmed in part from a long-time ICE investigation into Van Anraat that began in 1984. The ICE investigation found that Van Anraat had arranged for 4 shipments of thiodiglycol totaling more than 530 tons from the United States to Iraq in 1987 and 1988. Thiodiglycol is a precursor chemical for mustard gas. ICE agents determined that Van Anraat had purchased the chemicals from a Baltimore company called Alcolac International, Inc. Van Anraat was charged in Baltimore in 1989 and subsequently arrested in Italy on a U.S. arrest warrant. Italian authorities later released Van Anraat, who fled to Iraq where he purportedly remained until 2003. In February 2004, Dutch authorities began working with ICE and the U.S. Justice Department to bring charges against Van Anraat in the Netherlands, where Van Anraat had recently returned. In March 2004, ICE turned over significant evidence against Van Anraat to Dutch authorities, ultimately helping them bring charges against him.

  • U.S. Military Night Vision Systems to Iranian Military – On December 3, 2004, ICE agents and Austrian authorities thwarted a plot to illegally supply the Iranian military with thousands of advanced military night vision systems from the United States. The investigation began in 2002, when ICE agents learned that an arms broker in Tehran was seeking 3,000 helmet-mounted Generation III U.S. military night vision goggles for the Iranian military from vendors in the United States. In September 2004, Iranian nationals Mahmoud Seif and Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan began negotiations to take delivery of a first night vision shipment in Austria, noting their direct contacts with the Iranian government. ICE agents began working with Austrian authorities to ensure that arrests could be made in Austria. Austrian authorities arrested Seif and Mir Gholikhan after the pair took possession of the first night vision system at a meeting in Austria. On September 13, 2005, a Southern District of Florida grand jury handed down superceding indictments of Mahmoud SEIF, Hamid KARGAR, and Shahrazad Mir GHOLIKHAN for their involvement in an attempt to procure Generation III Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) for the Government of Iran. The indictments contain the following charges for the above named individuals: 1 Count - 18 USC 371 Conspiracy; 1 Count - 22 USC 2778 Arms Export Control Act; 1 Count - 18 USC 1956 (4) Money Laundering; 1 Count - 18 USC 1956 (a)(2)(A) Money Laundering; 1 Count - 18 USC 982 (a)(1) Forfeiture; 1 Count - 18 USC 2 Aiding and Abetting

  • Missile and Fighter Jet Components to China / Iran – On November 18, 2004, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered Los Angeles aircraft parts supplier Interaero Inc. to pay a $500,000 fine and serve five years of corporate probation for illegally exporting components for the HAWK missile, the F-4 Phantom fighter jet, and the F-5 Phantom/Tiger fighter jet to China between June 2000 and March 2001. Interaero pleaded guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act in August 2004. The conviction of Interaero was the eleventh in California and the District of Columbia to result from a 5-year undercover ICE investigation that targeted aircraft parts suppliers that sold defense articles over the Internet to foreign buyers without obtaining the required U.S. export licenses or complying with the arms embargoes. For example, on August 3, 2004, Amanullah Khan, a Pakistani national, pleaded guilty to a four-count criminal indictment in Los Angeles alleging that Khan and his Anaheim, Calif., company, United Aircraft & Electronics, illegally exported F-4 and F-5 fighter jets to China. Khan’s partner in United Aircraft & Electronics, Ziad Jamil Gammoh, a Jordanian national, pleaded guilty on June 24, 2004 to the same charges. On July 29, 2004, Mexpar International, another defendant in the undercover investigation, was sentenced in Los Angeles to three years probation and a fine of $75,000 for illegally exporting components for F-4 fighter jets, Hawk missiles, and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles to China. Ahmad Nahardani and Gabriela De Brea, who operated Mexpar International, pleaded guilty to arms export violations in September 2003. On Sept. 9, 2004, De Brea was sentenced to one-year incarceration. Nahardani received a sentence of 21 months federal imprisonment.

  • Military Antennae Controls to Spain – On November 16, 2004, Carlos Melean was indicted for violating the Arms Export Control Act in connection with his efforts to illegally export radar antennae control boxes for Orion P-3 surveillance aircraft to Spain without the required export license from the State Department. ICE agents arrested Melean on October 18, 2004 in Miami. According to the complaint, Melean and his company Aviation Spares Inc., Miami, FL, were attempting to export the antennae control boxes to Spain for use by the Spanish Air Force. In March 2005, Melean pled guilty to making a false statement in violation of 18 USC 1001. On June 17, 2005, Melean was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine.

  • Military Helicopter Engines and Night Vision Systems to China – On August 30, 2005, Kwonhwan Park was sentenced to 32 months federal imprisonment to be followed by deportation from the United States for his role in a scheme to illegally export U.S. technology to China. On November 10, 2004, Kwonhwan Park, a South Korean citizen, pleaded guilty in New Haven, CT, to violating the Arms Export Control Act for illegally exporting Black Hawk helicopter engines and other military items to China. ICE agents arrested Park in Virginia on April 1, 2004 as he attempted to board a plane bound for China with military night vision equipment in his luggage. ICE agents in New Haven had been investigating Park for two years after his Malaysian company bought two military helicopter engines from a U.S. firm and illegally exported them to China. He then attempted to buy four more such engines from a U.S. manufacturer, which notified ICE agents. ICE agents tracked Park as he entered the United States in March 2004 and arrested him as he attempted to depart with night vision technology. The government of South Korea worked closely with ICE on the investigation, prosecuting Yung Jean Sohn, a former South Korean military official, on charges of forging an end-user certificate falsely indicating that military helicopter engines purchased by Park were bound for legitimate parties overseas.

  • U.S. Fighter Jet Components to Iran – On November 6, 2004, Hamid M. Butt, 71, a naturalized U.S. citizen and a Pakistani native who was indicted on October 15, 2004, for violations of the Arms Export Control Act, died of natural causes. ICE agents had arrested Butt on June 22, 2004, after he arrived in Houston on a flight from Malaysia. Butt had been charged in a sealed complaint in Newark with violating the Arms Export Control Act for attempting to export F-14 fighter jet parts to Iran in 1999. Butt was the sole owner and operator of Humble Parts Distribution, an aircraft parts supply firm in Humble, Texas. The complaint alleges that in October 1999, Butt received an order for F-14 parts from Office de Distribution et Maintenance (ODM), an international spare parts trading company located in France. Butt then attempted to illegally ship electronic parts specifically made for the F-14 from Houston to Frankfurt, Germany, via Newark, New Jersey, without the required export license from the State Department. U.S. border inspectors found and seized the shipment before it could leave Newark. ICE agents conducted a subsequent investigation that led to federal charges against Butt, which were unsealed upon his arrest.

  • Missile Components to China – On October 6, 2004, Ting-Ih Hsu, a naturalized U.S. citizen and president of Azure Systems, Inc, and Hai Lin Nee, a Chinese citizen and an employee of Azure systems, were sentenced to three years probation for false statements in connection with illegally exporting to China 25 low-noise amplifier chips that have applications in U.S. Hellfire missile systems. ICE agents arrested the pair in Orlando, Florida, on March 12, 2004, on charges of violating the Export Administration Act, conspiracy, and false statements. According to the indictment, the defendants falsely labeled the amplifier chips in export documents as “transistors” worth some $20. Hsu was a former employee of defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Nee formerly worked at a U.S. research institute that designed software for military and warfare simulations. On July 16, 2004, both subjects pleaded guilty to making false statements.

  • Restricted Electronic Equipment to China – On September 30, 2004, ICE agents in conjunction with agents from the FBI and the Department of Commerce arrested four individuals in Milwaukee and Manitowac, Wisconsin on charges of conspiring to illegally export more than $500,000 in restricted electronic components to China. The components in question could be used in a wide variety of military radar and communications applications. Those arrested were Ning Wen, Hailin Lin, Jian Guo Qu, and Ruo Ling Wang. The defendants were charged with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Export Administration Regulations and money laundering violations. On May 3, 2005, Jian Guo Qu and Ruo Ling Wang pled guilty to conspiracy and violation of Title 50 U.S.C. 1705(b). Wang was sentenced to 6 months time served and fined $1,500. Qu was sentenced to 46 months federal imprisonment and fined $2,000. On July 8, 2005, Hailin Lin pled guilty to conspiracy and money laundering, and is awaiting sentencing. On September 21, 2005, in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ning WEN was convicted at trial for five counts of violating 50 USC 1705 (b) (International Emergency Economic Powers Act - IEEPA), 18 USC 371 (Conspiracy), 18 USC 1956(a)(2)(A) (Money Laundering), 18 USC 1956(h) (Money Laundering) and 18 USC 1001 (False Statements) in relation to his direct involvement in a scheme to illegally export dual-use semi-conductors and other electronic components from the U.S. to China without proper export licenses. WEN is awaiting sentencing.

  • Military Assault Weapons to Philippines – On September 20, 2004, Victor “the Devil” Infante, 34, the accused leader of an international firearms and methamphetamine distribution organization pleaded guilty to drug charges. ICE agents arrested Infante after a 9-month investigation that involved law enforcement agencies in the Philippines, New York, New Jersey, California, and Louisiana. Infante was charged with the attempted export of assault weapons, including MAC-11 submachine guns, MP-5s, HK-94s, Colt AR-15s, and Uzi Model Bs, to the Philippines. He was also charged with importing thousands of dollars of “meth” to New York and New Jersey. Infante was arrested by authorities in the Philippines and turned over to ICE/FBI custody. Philippine authorities contend that Infante supplied arms to the Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization. Infante is awaiting sentencing.

  • Weapons to Colombian Terrorist Groups – On August 19, 2004, a federal grand jury in Miami, Florida charged seven individuals with conspiracy to illegally export arms, ammunition, and other military supplies to organized paramilitary groups in Colombia, including the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and the Auto Defensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), both of which are U.S. designated terrorist groups. The charges resulted from a joint investigation by ICE and ATF. The investigation, which began after agents responded to a flooded warehouse in Miami that contained weapons destined for South America, ultimately resulted in the seizure of more than 200 weapons and more than 700,000 rounds of ammunition. Six members involved in this conspiracy have been arrested and convicted pursuant to plea agreements in U.S. District Court. One member is currently a fugitive, and the remaining defendants are awaiting sentencing.

  • Sensitive Military Technology to China – On July 29, 2004, seven individuals were indicted on export violations alleging that they used their two companies, Universal Technologies, Inc., (Unitek) and Manten Electronics, Inc., to illegally export sensitive national-security controlled items to state-sponsored institutes in China. Agents from ICE, the FBI, and the Department of Commerce arrested the individuals on July 1, 2004. According to the complaints, the individuals were illegally exporting millions of dollars worth of items used in a variety of defense weapons systems, including smart weapons, radar, electronic warfare and communications systems. On September 13, 2005, four of the co-conspirators pleaded guilty to an information filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The information charged the individuals with violating 22 U.S.C. 2778: the Arms Export Control Act (AECA); 50 U.S.C. 1705 (b): the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA); 18 U.S.C. 371: Conspiracy to violate the Export Administration Regulations (EAR): 18 U.S.C. 2: Aiding and Abetting and 18 U.S.C. 1001: Providing False Statements. Sentencing is scheduled for February 6, 2006.

  • U.S. Fighter Jet to Colombia in Plot to Assassinate Drug Baron – On June 29, 2004, veteran British mercenary and longtime fugitive David Tomkins, 64, pleaded guilty in Miami to federal charges of violating the Arms Export Control Act. ICE agents had arrested Tomkins on August 31, 2003 upon his arrival in Houston on a flight from London. Tomkins had been charged in Miami in 1994 in connection with a scheme to buy an A-37 fighter jet from undercover ICE agents in 1991. At the time, Tomkins intended to use the fighter jet to bomb a Colombian prison that housed Pablo Escobar, the previous chief of Colombia’s Medellin drug cartel. Tomkins was being paid millions to assassinate Escobar by the rival Cali drug cartel in Colombia. Tomkins fled the United States prior to his 1994 indictment, after being tipped off to the ICE investigation by unknown parties. He remained a fugitive until his arrest in 2003. On October 8, 2004, Tomkins was subsequently sentenced to 33 months Federal imprisonment.

  • Military Night Vision Technology to China – On June 3, 2004, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California announced that two individuals (Philip Cheng and Martin Shih) and a San Jose company (Night Vision Technology) were indicted by a federal grand jury for illegally brokering the sale of military and commercial-grade night vision technology to China. Court documents in the case alleged that the pair had entered into a contract with the Chinese military to produce technology for night vision equipment in China. The defendants were also charged with money laundering and other export violations. The charges resulted from an extensive investigation by agents from ICE, the FBI, the IRS, and the Department of Commerce. The trial date for both subjects is pending.

  • Military Helicopter Components to Iran / Foreign Purchasers – On May 10, 2004, Rotair Industries, Inc., a military helicopter parts manufacturer in Bridgeport, Connecticut pleaded guilty to two counts of illegally exporting U.S. defense articles. The company also agreed to pay a criminal fine of $500,000 and institute an export compliance program to ensure that no future exports were made without the necessary approvals from the U.S. government. In addition, Wesley Harrington, a Rotair officer and the son of the company owner, Herbert Harrington, pleaded guilty to attempting to impede ICE agents during a search of Rotair’s offices by attempting to dismantle his computer. ICE agents launched their probe of Rotair after items made by the firm were found to have ended up in Iran, a nation that is embargoed under U.S. law. As a result of the discovery, two separate undercover investigations by ICE agents in Milwaukee and New Haven were launched to confirm whether Rotair was willfully exporting U.S. munitions with obtaining the required approvals from the U.S. government. Both undercover ICE investigations confirmed that Rotair was illegally exporting military helicopter parts without the required export licenses and approvals, even though the company had been specifically warned against such exports by the U.S. State Department. In both cases, Rotair negotiated with and sold restricted military items to undercover ICE companies posing as international arms purchasers.

  • Missile Components to China – On March 5, 2004, Zhan Gao, a well-known U.S. human rights activist and scholar who had been jailed by Chinese authorities in 2001 for allegedly spying for Taiwan, was sentenced in the Eastern District of Virginia for illegally exporting sensitive U.S. technology with potential military applications to China. The technology exported by Gao could be used in missile guidance and airborne battle management systems. Gao and her husband, Donghua Xue, pleaded guilty in November 2003 to illegal arms export and tax fraud violations. Gao and Xue agreed to forfeit roughly $590,000 that they had received from China as payment for the exports. The guilty pleas resulted from an extensive ICE investigation that began in the Fall of 2000. Gao ultimately received a sentence of 15 months, including 7 months imprisonment followed by 8 months community confinement.

  • U.S. Fighter Jet and Military Helicopter Components to Iran / Taiwan – On February 19, 2004, Camnetics Manufacturing Corporation in Utah pleaded guilty to making false statements. In May 2004, Camnetics Vice President, William Manning, pleaded guilty to obstruction charges. Camnetics was fined $25,000 and William Manning was sentenced to three years probation and fined $5,000. Each had been charged in December 2002 in the Eastern District of Wisconsin with three counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act in connection with an ICE undercover investigation which revealed that Camnetics illegally exported components for F-4 fighter jets and S-65 Sikorsky military assault helicopters to undercover ICE agents. Undercover negotiations indicated that the military components were destined for Iran. The guilty pleas were the latest developments in a now-closed undercover ICE operation out of Milwaukee called “Operation Fool’s Gold.” The investigation targeted U.S. companies and individuals that were illegally exporting weapons components to foreign locations, primarily Iran. In 1999, ICE agents created an undercover arms procurement business that purportedly operated in Austria, but in actuality operated out of the United States. The undercover business mimicked the practices of a notorious Iranian arms broker who remains an ICE fugitive. On December 10, 2002, the undercover investigation resulted in federal charges against Camnetics Manufacturing Corporation in Utah and its vice president, William Manning; Equipment and Supply International of North Carolina and its chief Andrew Adams; as well as Rick’s Manufacturing and Supply Company of Oklahoma, and Jami S. Choudhury. Each was charged in the Eastern District of Wisconsin with violating the Arms Export Control Act for illegally exporting components for F-4 fighter jets, S-65 Sikorsky military assault helicopters, and other aircraft to undercover ICE agents. In all cases except Choudhury’s, the undercover negotiations indicated that the military components were destined for Iran. Equipment and Supply International was sentenced to 2 years probation and fined $50,000. Andrew Adams, president of Equipment and Supply International, was sentenced to 3 years probation and fined $25,000. Rick’s Manufacturing and Supply International was fined $50,000. Jami S. Choudhury was sentenced to 37 months incarceration, 36 months probation and was fined $2,000.

  • Missile Technology to China – On Nov. 18, 2003, ICE agents in Haverhill, Mass., arrested William Kovacs, the president of Elatec Technology Corporation (ETC). On Nov. 13, 2003, Kovacs and his company ETC were indicted by a grand jury in Washington D.C. for conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and violations of the Export Administration Act. An ICE investigation had determined that ETC had exported a sophisticated industrial furnace with potential missile applications to a firm in China known as Chinese Great Wall. ETC had exported the furnace to China even after its export license for this shipment was denied by the Commerce Department. On May 28, 2004, Kovacs pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and is currently scheduled for a judicial hearing in November 2005.

  • Military Patrol Vessels to Iraq – On October 15, 2003, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. charged Sabri Yakou, 69, and his son Regard Yakou, 43, with violations of the Arms Export Control Act for allegedly brokering the sale of 6 armored patrol boats, worth a total of $11 million, to the former Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. The arrests and charges were the result of an ICE investigation. The case was the first to result from the deployment of ICE teams to Iraq in March 2003 to investigate whether U.S. people or entities had violated U.S. laws or U.N. sanctions by supplying the Hussein regime in Iraq with munitions and other materials. As of November 2005, negotiations continue with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and defense counsel as to a potential plea agreement.

  • Equipment with Nuclear Applications to Pakistani Military – On Sept. 23, 2003, Omega Engineering of Stamford, Connecticut, was sentenced to pay $313,000 in criminal fines and an $187,000 civil penalty. On Sept. 22, the Chief Financial Officer of Omega was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and 5 years home confinement. The sentences resulted from an ICE investigation, which found that Omega and its CFO had willfully disregarded the denial of a U.S. export license, and illegally exported laboratory equipment with nuclear and non-nuclear applications to the Pakistani Ministry of Defense, National Development Center.

  • Shoulder-Fired Missiles Intended for Use Against U.S. Commercial Aircraft – On August 12, 2003, agents from ICE and the FBI arrested accused British arms dealer Hemant LAKHANI on charges of attempting to sell a shoulder-fired missile to individuals in the U.S. with the understanding that it would be used to shoot down an American commercial jetliner. The criminal complaint alleged that LAKHANI sought to arrange the sale of at least another 50 shoulder-fired missiles to an individual posing as a member of terrorist organization in the United States. Two other individuals were charged in connection with the monetary aspects of the case. On April 27, 2005, LAKHANI was convicted on five counts related to the Arms Export Control (22 U.S.C. 2778), Material Support to a Terrorist Organization (18 U.S.C. 2339), Money Laundering (18 U.S.C. 1956) and Importation of Goods by False Statement (18 U.S.C. 542 and 2). On September 12, 2005, LAKHANI was sentenced to 47 years of federal imprisonment for the April 27, 2005 conviction related to the attempted importation of shoulder-fried missiles.

  • U.S. Missile and Fighter Jet Components to Iranian Arms Network (Multicore I & II) – On July 10, 2003, ICE agents executed federal search warrants on 18 U.S. companies in 10 states suspected of violating the Arms Export Control Act. The ICE investigation indicated that these U.S. companies had illegally exported thousands of missile and fighter jet components to Multicore, Ltd. (aka AKS Industries), an Iranian front company in London that procures weapons systems worldwide directly for the Iranian military. Among the items allegedly exported by these U.S. companies to Multicore in London were components for U.S. HAWK missiles, F-14 fighter jets, F-5 fighter jets, F-4 fighter jets, C-130 military aircraft, military radars, and other equipment. The July 2003 search warrants were the latest phase in an ICE investigation into Multicore that began in February 1999. At that time, agents received information about a company in Bakersfield, California, called Multicore, Ltd (a subsidiary of Multicore London), that was involved in the purchase of F-14 fighter jet parts from U.S. companies. In December 2000, ICE agents searched Multicore’s storage facility in Bakersfield and seized thousands of aircraft and missile components that were bound for Iran via Singapore. Agents documented more than 270 shipments of military components delivered to Multicore in Bakersfield from various U.S. companies for export. During the December 2000 raid, ICE agents also arrested Multicore officers Saeed Homayouni, a naturalized Canadian from Iran, and Yew Ling Fung, a Malaysian citizen, on arms export violations. In June 2001, Homayouni pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act. Fung pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony. Both were sentenced in the Southern District of California in September 2001. Based upon information uncovered by ICE agents in the December 2000 raid on Multicore Bakersfield, British authorities soon launched an investigation into Multicore London. In early May 2002, Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Service (U.K) executed search warrants on Multicore’s London office, one residence, and two storage facilities. They also arrested Soroosh Homayouni (the brother of Saeed Homayouni) and Mahboubeh Eshraghi in London. Both Iranian citizens, these individuals were charged by British authorities with violating UK export regulations. The searches in London yielded thousands of missile and fighter jet components, as well as documents from the government of Iran requesting that Multicore in London purchase military components around the globe. In August 2002, ICE agents met with British authorities to review the evidence seized at Multicore’s London offices. The evidence indicated that more than 50 U.S. companies had shipped military items directly to Multicore in London after the December 2000 raids on Multicore’s facility in Bakersfield. Armed with this evidence, ICE agents launched an investigation into those U.S. companies that had supplied Multicore in London. This investigation ultimately resulted in the searches of the 18 U.S. companies. The investigation and prosecution of these cases continues.

  • Components for Howitzers, Military Radars to Pakistan – On June 12, 2003, Yasmin Ahmed and Tariq Ahmed pleaded guilty in the District of Connecticut to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act. The ICE investigation determined that the couple had purchased in the U.S. and attempted to illegally export to Pakistan parts for Howitzer canons, military radars, and armored personnel carriers. As part of this investigation, Allen Haller and his Florida-based company, Mart Haller, Inc., pleaded guilty in Connecticut on June 9 to conspiracy to illegally export military components to a Pakistani company in the United Arab Emirates. Yasmin Ahmed was sentenced to time served and Tariq Ahmed was sentenced to 24 months incarceration.

  • “Drone” Components to Pakistan – On May 29, 2003, ICE agents in Chicago arrested Mariam Aidroos, a Pakistani national, on charges of false statements in connection with the attempted export of components for unmanned aerial vehicles or “drones” to Pakistan. ICE agents determined that the woman was attempting to export these goods to an individual affiliated with the Pakistani military. In April 2005, Aidroos pled guilty to providing false statements to federal agents and is awaiting sentencing.

  • Military Aircraft and Engines to Libya – On March 26, 2003, Klaus Ernst Buhler, a German commercial pilot, pled guilty to a 2-count indictment out of Tampa, Florida, charging him with conspiracy to illegally export engines for C-130 military aircraft and CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Libya. During the investigation, the pilot also negotiated with undercover ICE agents to buy four complete aircraft, two of which he said were for intended for Moammar Qadaffi’s use. ICE agents arrested the pilot on Jan. 10, 2002. In June 2003, Buhler was sentenced to 30 months federal imprisonment and three years supervised release.

  • Military Radar Components to Iran – On March 20, 2003, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland announced a superseding indictment against Eric Chang, a naturalized U.S. citizen and resident of Taiwan, and David Chu, a resident of Taiwan, on charges of conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act and money laundering. The charges resulted from an undercover ICE probe, which began after Chang and Chu allegedly contacted a Maryland company in January 2002 about purchasing satellite space images of Tehran. ICE agents launched a probe using an undercover business in Maryland. The defendants allegedly then attempted to purchase from undercover ICE agents military radar detection electronics (spiral-backed antennas for U.S. fighter jets) for export to Iran, via Guam and Taiwan. ICE agents arrested Chu in Feb. 2003 after an undercover meeting in Guam as he attempted to board a flight for Taiwan with the military antennas. Chang remains a fugitive. The defendants also discussed with ICE agents the purchase of early warning radar equipment, state-of-the-art night vision equipment and other military use technology for Iran. On November 14, 2003, Chang pled guilty and was sentenced in federal court. However, Chang failed to report and is currently a fugitive.

  • Satellite Technology to China – On March 4, 2003, Hughes Electronics Corp. and Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc. entered into a civil settlement with the State Department in which the companies agreed to pay a $32 million fine, $8 million of which would go to ICE. The agreement settled charges that the firms had illegally shared sensitive satellite technology/know-how with China.

    Military Communications Equipment to Pakistan -- On Feb. 27, 2003, Raytheon agreed to pay $25 million to settle claims that it had attempted to illegally export troposcatter communications equipment to the Pakistani military. Raytheon agreed to pay $20 million to the ICE, $3 million to the State Department, and to invest $2 million to upgrade its internal export compliance program.

  • Military Encryption Devices to China - On Oct. 18, 2002, the U.S. Attorney in Baltimore announced that two individuals had been sentenced to jail terms for conspiring to export sensitive military encryption devices to China via Singapore. The sale of these sensitive items requires approval by the National Security Agency. In August 2001, ICE agents arrested both individuals.

  • Military Aircraft Components to Iran - On July 18, 2002, an individual was sentenced in the Eastern District of New York to a jail term in connection with a scheme to export parts for 20-mm aircraft canons and other military parts to Iran via a front company in Switzerland. ICE agents arrested the individual in 2001.

  • Nuclear Trigger Devices to Israel - On April 29, 2002, an individual was sentenced to jail in the Central District of California in connection with a 1980-82 scheme to export to Israel roughly 800 krytrons, which are high-speed timing devices that can be used to detonate a nuclear warhead. Authorities in Spain arrested the individual in July 2001 after 16 years on the run. He had been indicted in the U.S. in 1985.

Report any potential human rights violators in your community to 1-866-DHS-2-ICE

# ICE #

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, responsible for the enforcement of border, economic, infrastructure and transportation security laws. ICE seeks to prevent acts of terrorism by targeting the people, money and materials that support terrorist and criminal activities.


Last Modified 12/15/2005
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