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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit
08/03/2011

Georgia man sentenced to 3 years for exporting military holographic weapons sights and M4 rifle gun parts

ATLANTA - A Georgia man was sentenced earlier this week to serve three years in federal prison on charges of violating the Arms Export Control Act, conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act and possessing short barrel rifles.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Andrew Vincent O'Donnell, 33, of Villa Rica, Ga., was also sentenced to three years of supervised release following the prison time and was ordered to pay a fine of $2,500. He pleaded guilty to the charges on Feb. 25.

"The illegal export of U.S. weapons and technology poses a direct threat to our nation's security and to the safety of our troops, officers and agents abroad," said Brock Nicholson, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Atlanta. "ICE takes violations of the Arms Export Control Act very seriously and we will continue to aggressively investigate these cases."

O'Donnell had operated an eBay online store through which he sold various gun parts and accessories, including export controlled military holographic weapons sights, which have night vision capability and are designed to enhance precision shooting. He also sold gun parts used to assemble M4 rifles.

"The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the technology used by our military. Given the turmoil around the world, it is even more imperative that we prevent the unlawful export of military items, and those who choose to make money over obeying our export laws are taking away the tactical advantage of our military," said Sally Quillian Yates, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

Between January 2008 and January 2009, O'Donnell sold more than 50 export-controlled EOTech Holographic Weapon Sights of various models to the customer in Hong Kong. He knew the items required an export license issued by either the State Department or the Department of Commerce before they could be shipped from the United States, yet he never applied for or received an export license for any military items.

According to the evidence, O'Donnell devised a scheme to export these items in a manner to conceal the true identity of the parts by marking the shipments as "toys."

Additionally in 2009, O'Donnell sold VLTOR Upper Receivers for shipment to Japan, which is a specific gun part used in assembling an AR15/M16/M4 rifle. O'Donnell sold the parts to the customer in Japan and arranged to have the items shipped out of the country through a third party in order to make the sale appear legitimate and to further conceal his illegal export activities.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracia M. King prosecuted the case.