SEATTLE – A Corvallis, Ore., man was sentenced Friday to 10 months in federal prison for attempting to sell export restricted military-grade equipment to overseas buyers in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
Geoffrey B. Roose pleaded guilty in March following his February federal indictment, which stemmed from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
According to court documents, investigators sent a message via eBay advising Roose that the scopes he was auctioning were restricted for export to which Roose responded with "Thanks." Despite the warning, he didn't end his auction. Undercover HSI special agents then purchased one of the military-grade rifle scopes and had it shipped to a European address. Roose shipped the order, which was seized before it left the country. On the customs declaration, Roose identified the $1,700 scope as "telescope w/Mount" valued at $150.
In a search of Roose's email, HSI special agents found he had previously concealed the export of rifle scopes because of export controls. In one email Roose told a critic of his eBay sales: " try worrying about your life, not stupid federal ITAR rules or stolen property." ITAR refers to International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
"It's always disturbing when an American illegally exports equipment that could be used on the battlefield against U.S. military servicemen," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. "HSI will continue to work aggressively to stem the flow of restricted items from the U.S."
"The laws on exporting military equipment are designed to protect our country and our servicemen," said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. "This prison sentence should be a warning to anyone considering sales that will damage our security for their personal profit."
In seeking a significant sentence for Roose, prosecutors highlighted his willful disregard of multiple warnings that it was illegal to send the high tech devices overseas. "There is simply no excuse for Roose's conduct. He was given every opportunity to change course and do the right thing. He was explicitly warned by the undercover ICE agent. He received a warning from the United States Postal Service. He received a warning from a stranger. Every product that he shipped was stamped with a warning about export. Nonetheless, he continued selling restricted items overseas, and was stopped only by his arrest," prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
At sentencing, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said he could not overlook Roose's attitude in response to warnings that selling the scopes overseas was illegal. "These are not hunting scopes," he said. "These are killing scopes."
The Defense Criminal Investigative Service assisted with the investigation. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington prosecuted the case.