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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit

Colorado company charged with illegally exporting defense articles

DENVER - A Colorado company that allegedly illegally exported defense items without the proper license, including military optical prisms and technical data, was charged Wednesday in federal court. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).

The Rocky Mountain Instrument Co. located in Lafayette, Colo., was charged March 17 in the District of Colorado with one count of knowingly and willfully exporting defense articles without a license.

According to court documents, between April 1, 2005 and Oct. 11, 2007, Rocky Mountain Instrument Co. exported prisms and technical data related to optics used in military applications to Turkey, South Korea, the People's Republic of China and Russia.

These items are designated as defense articles on the United States Munitions List. The company failed to obtain a license or written authorization for such exports from the U.S. Department of State.

Court documents included a notice of criminal asset forfeiture of $1 million, representing the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offense.

If convicted, the company faces a fine of up to $1 million, and up to five years of probation.

The U.S. Department of State is assisting ICE and DCIS in this ongoing investigation.

"U.S. export laws help protect this country from others who would use our own technology against us," said Kumar Kibble, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigation in Denver. "ICE acts as one of the prime enforcers of these laws." Kibble oversees Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

"Protecting the troops is a top priority for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service," said DCIS special agent in charge Byron J. Hogan. "The technical advantage the Department of Defense possesses with regard to military optics has been critical to the success of our troops and compromising that technology puts our service men and women at risk. Therefore, DCIS along with its partners in law enforcement, the United States Attorney's Office, and ICE, will continue to make every effort to bring those who commit violations of this type to justice."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch, District of Colorado, is prosecuting the case.

The public is reminded that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.