TUSCON, Ariz. – A Pakistani man was sentenced Thursday to two years and nine months in prison for attempting to illegally procure and ship sophisticated gyroscopes to his native country, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Belgian Federal Police.
Syed Vaqar Ashraf, 71, of Lahore, Pakistan, previously pleaded guilty to attempting to procure multiple models of gyroscopes from a U.S. company and illegally ship them to Pakistan so they could be used by the Pakistani military. The devices have a variety of applications, including use in unmanned aircraft and missile delivery systems. In an effort to evade detection, Ashraf arranged for the gyroscopes to be purchased in the name of a shell company and transshipped to Belgium. Ashraf then traveled to Belgium to inspect the devices and arrange for their final transport to Pakistan.
Ashraf was arrested Aug. 26, 2014, by the Belgian Federal Police at the request of HSI, which had been conducting an undercover investigation into his activities. In July of last year he was extradited from Belgium to the U.S. to face trial.
Earlier this year, Ashraf pleaded guilty to conspiracy to export defense controlled items without a license. At Thursday’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Marquez ordered that Ashraf be subject to three years’ supervised release upon completion of his prison term.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristen Brook and Beverly Anderson, District of Arizona, and Elizabeth Cannon, trial attorney with the Justice Department’s National Security Division.