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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit
02/28/2013

Arms seller pleads guilty to illegal export of night vision equipment

Florida man sold night vision goggles and monocular on eBay

BALTIMORE – A Florida man pleaded guilty late Wednesday to unlawfully exporting night vision equipment, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Counter-proliferation Investigations Task Force, a multi-agency task force led by HSI. According to the  plea agreement, Anthony J. Torresi, age 34, of Coral Gables, Fla., listed night vision goggles and night vision monoculars for sale on eBay. The items were designed to enable military ground troop personnel to conduct night operations. A license from the U.S. Department of State is required to export the items. Selling such items overseas without a license is a violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

"One of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations top enforcement priorities is preventing U.S. military products and sensitive technology from falling into the hands of those who might seek to harm America or its interests," said William Winter, special agent in charge for HSI Baltimore. "This investigation is an example of HSI's good partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland to combat this threat."

On Jan. 21, 2011, Torresi sold two of the night vision goggles for $7,039.99 to an undercover agent he believed to be located in New Zealand, but who was in fact located in Baltimore. Torresi exported the goggles on Feb. 11, 2011, from Miami to New Zealand. The shipping label signed by Torresi showed the contents as a "gift" described as a "Rangefinder" valued at $70. Torresi never applied for a license to export these items.

Similarly, on March 29, 2011, Torresi sold a 6015-4 night vision monocular to the undercover agent he believed to be located in New Zealand for $6,099.89. On April 29, 2011, Torresi exported from Miami to New Zealand what he represented to be the 6015-4 night vision monocular that he sold for $6,099.98. In fact, Torresi shipped a different night vision monocular that he had purchased for $266 and which did not require a license to export.

Torresi faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release and a $1 million fine for unlawful export of arms and munitions. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander scheduled sentencing for June 21 at 2 p.m.