CHEYENNE, Wyo. – A citizen of Russia was sentenced Friday to almost five months in federal prison (time served) for conspiracy to illegally export military-grade thermal imaging scopes to his home country.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS).
Roman Georgiyevich Kvinikadze, 32, had contacted an HSI undercover agent, and between Dec. 20, 2012 and Feb. 12, 2013 he tried to purchase and export to Russia military grade AN/PAS-13D(V) thermal imaging scopes manufactured in the United States by various defense manufacturers. Kvinikadze was first directed by the undercover agent to apply for an export license through the Department of State.
Kvinikadze met with the undercover agent at a Las Vegas, Nev., convention Jan. 15, 2013 to discuss the details of purchasing and shipping the military scopes. Kvinikadze emphasized that he didn’t care how he received the items, but he suggested they be transshipped to a friendly third country, such as the United Kingdom for further shipment to Russia.
On Feb. 5, 2013, Kvinikadze specified his request to purchase five Thor-320 1X Thermal Imaging Weapon Sights, and five Tactical Thermal Weapons Sights, TTWS-320 1X (30Hz), both manufactured by American Technologies Network (ATN). The scopes retail for about $5,000 each.
Kvinikadze was indicted in the District of Wyoming July 25, 2013 on one count of conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act, and one count of knowingly and willfully attempting to export defense articles listed on the U.S. Munitions List to Russia, without having first obtained the required export license from the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.
HSI special agents from Denver, Colo., Salt Lake City, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyo., with the assistance of USMS, arrested Kvinikadze in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Aug. 29. He has been in custody since his arrest. As part of his sentence, Kvinikadze will return to Russia on the earliest flight.
"The U.S. export laws and restrictions help ensure that our own weapons and technologies won’t be used against us or against our military members fighting overseas," said Kumar C. Kibble, special agent in charge of HSI Denver, which includes Wyoming. "Enforcing these export laws is a priority mission for our HSI special agents."
In addition to his 147-day prison sentence, Kvinikadze was also fined $7,500.
The Arms Export Control Act prohibits the export of defense articles and defense services without first obtaining a license from the U.S. Department of State; it is one of the principal export control laws in the United States.