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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit

Army master sergeant sentenced to nearly 4 years for illegally exporting military equipment

ORLANDO, Fla. – An Army sergeant, who was previously stationed in the Orlando-area while serving in the military, was sentenced Tuesday to 46 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release, after he violated the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).

According to court documents, from 2007 to 2010, Fidel Ignacio Cisneros, 42, of Lynnwood, Wash., served as a soldier in the U.S. Army where he performed various missions in Iraq and elsewhere. During his deployment, Cisneros stole three Acquired Tactical Illuminating Laser Aimers (Atilla-200 lasers), an ACOG rifle scope and several other items. He brought all of the items back to Orlando without first obtaining permission from the Department of Defense.

Using his eBay account, Cisneros auctioned one of the Atilla-200 lasers to the highest bidder, noting in the auction advertisement that it was "impossible to find on the international market." Cisneros shipped the Atilla-200 laser from Orlando to a Japanese national in Tokyo in exchange for $3,200. According to the U.S. Munitions List and category XII(b) of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, individuals cannot export Atilla-200 lasers outside of the United States without a license. Cisneros did not have the appropriate license or permission to export the Atilla-200 laser to Japan.

In March 2010, Cisneros also auctioned several other items. He shipped a PEQ AN/PEQ-14 night vision pointer illuminator to California, a Thuraya Hughes 7101 satellite phone GSM+GPS to Kuwait, a Thuraya Satellite phone docker FDU 2500 to California and a PEQ/Atilla 200 rail mounted laser to Nevada.

On Jan. 26, 2011, Cisneros admitted to HSI special gents that he knew it was probably wrong to sell the items and that civilians probably were not allowed to possess them. That same day, agents recovered the remaining Atilla-200 lasers that Cisneros stole from the Army. Federal law enforcement agents in the United States and in Japan subsequently recovered all of the items, with the exception of the satellite phone, that Cisneros sold.

"We have protections in place to ensure that sensitive military technologies do not end up in the hands of our adversaries," said Shane Folden, deputy special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. "This individual, a former soldier, completely disregarded our country's export laws solely to make a dollar."

"It is disheartening when a military member abandons his code of conduct and violates a position of trust for personal enrichment. The DCIS will continue to aggressively investigate these offenses to protect the integrity of the Department of Defense, especially those service members who are serving honorably and selflessly in Southwest Asia," said DCIS Special Agent in Charge of the Southeast Field Office John F. Khin.

Cisneros pleaded guilty to the charges July 31.