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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit
12/08/2016

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US Air Force member charged with selling military night vision equipment

NEW YORK — A U.S. Air Force service member was arrested on Nov. 29 on federal charges for his alleged role in selling thousands of dollars in military equipment.

The arrest resulted from a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and the Department of Defense’s, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).

Zachary Sizemore, 24, an active-duty service member of the U.S. Air Force, was arrested on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where he is stationed.  Sizemore is charged with theft and sale without authority of night-vision devices and components stolen from the Air Force.

“As an active duty member of the United States Air Force, Sizemore allegedly broke the sacred military oath of protecting this nation when he stole and sold high-tech military technology on the internet,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York.  “This night vision equipment is highly advanced, giving our military a much deserved edge on today’s battlefield.  HSI is committed to making sure this technology does not fall into the wrong hands.”

“Our military’s night vision technology is among the most advanced in the world.  As alleged, the defendant made stolen, military-issued, night vision devices available on the internet to anyone with the means to purchase them.  Such technology gives our soldiers a critical advantage on the battlefield.   Stealing that technology and selling it to the highest bidder puts our soldiers at risk,” said Robert L. Capers, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.  “We will continue to use all of the law enforcement tools at our disposal to help protect our soldiers abroad.”

Night vision devices acquired by the United States military, such as the items allegedly stolen and sold by the defendant, contain components made to military specifications.  They are required by the military to be rendered useless for their intended purpose prior to leaving government control.  United States military policies prohibit the private sale of fully functional military-issued night vision equipment.

According to the complaint, between July 2013 and November 2016, Sizemore sold or attempted to sell at least three night vision devices that were stolen from the United States military, including an AN/PVS-7D night vision goggle and two mini-thermal monocular devices.  In addition, he created online postings for, and sold or attempted to sell, approximately 45 items described as night vision equipment or thermal equipment.  Of those postings, Sizemore sold at least 38 such items for approximately $50,000.

This case is being prosecuted by EDNY with assistance provided by the department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control section. The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 10 years in prison, forfeiture, and a fine of up to $250,000.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/08/2016