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January 23, 2020Philadelphia, PA, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE removes Kazakhstan national convicted of weapons trafficking to Russia

PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) removed Eldar Rezvanov on Jan. 16, to his home country of Kazakhstan via commercial aircraft.

Rezvanov was convicted for international arms trafficking by exporting defense articles without obtaining a license or authorization.

Rezvanov and his coconspirator attempted to conceal the export of the firearms and firearm parts by using aliases to purchase the components and by providing false information on federal forms about the final destination of the articles. They smuggled the firearms and firearm parts onto overseas flights using false shipping inventories and concealed the disassembled firearm components by taping them to metal kitchen utensils before shipping them overseas.

“This individual took advantage of the many opportunities this country granted him,” said ICE Philadelphia Field Office Director Simona Flores-Lund. “Eldar Rezvanov started out as an international student, and three years later he was attempting to export an incredible number of firearms and ammunition to Russia. Thanks to our local and federal partners, this individual has served time and is now removed from the United States.”

In January 2013, Rezvanov was admitted into the U.S. as a F-1 non-immigrant student for the duration of his student status at Virginia International University. Rezvanov was granted employment status until February 2015. He then transferred to the American College of Commerce and Technology, and in November 2015, they terminated his student status in SEVIS for failure to enroll.

On Nov. 10, 2016, the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police arrested Rezvanov and charged him with kidnapping and abduction of a foreign national. Rezvanov and his codefendants allegedly kidnapped an individual, held him hostage, beat him, and forced him to meet ransom demands.

On Nov. 29, 2016, the D.C Department of Corrections remanded Rezvanov to ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington custody. On the same date, HSI Washington turned Rezvanov over to ERO Washington custody, who detained him at the Farmville Detention Center in Farmville, VA. On April 11, 2017, an immigration judge (IJ) issued Rezvanov bond, and he posted bond.

On Oct. 20, 2017, after being notified by local law enforcement that Rezvanov was possibly involved in the illegal export of AECA controlled items, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) identified and examined several packages Rezvanov shipped at the Park Fairfax Post Office. These packages contained: 395 firearms parts such as firing pins, springs and extractors; 75 magazines for Glocks and AK 47 rifles; and 20 barrels and slides for Glock pistols.

The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) requires individuals to obtain a license from the Department of State (DOS) Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) to export Defense Articles on the United States Munitions List (USML) from the United States to another country.

On Nov. 2, 2017, Rezvanov attempted to ship another package to Chechnya, Russia containing gun barrels taped to metals spatulas and gun slides taped to small wheels in an effort to conceal them as casters for kitchen cabinets. USPIS seized both of these shipments.

Without obtaining the required license, Rezvanov and his coconspirator purchased and attempted to export from the United States to Grozny, Chechnya: 7 full pistols; 130 assembled lower receivers; 266 firearm slides; 158 firearm barrels; 996 firearm magazines; 10 stocks; 133 firearm frames; and 453 firearm parts, including springs and firing pins. Purchasers were under aliases, and the firearm components were taped to kitchen utensils.

On Feb. 22, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) issued an arrest warrant for Rezvanov for violating AECA. On Feb. 27, 2018, HSI Washington arrested Rezvanov in Arlington, VA.

On July 24, 2018, Rezvanov was convicted of violating the AECA and international traffic in arms regulations. On April 15, 2019, ERO Philadelphia encountered Rezvanov at the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center (MVCC) in Philipsburg, PA and lodged an Immigration Detainer. On Nov. 8, 2019, MVCC remanded Rezvanov to ERO Philadelphia custody, who detained him at the Clinton County Correctional Facility (CCCF) in McElhattan, PA.

On Dec. 12, 2019, an IJ ordered Rezvanov removed from the United States to Kazakhstan. Rezvanov waived appeal. On Jan. 16, 2020, Rezvanov was removed from the United States.

Updated: 10/08/2020