foreign national charged with attempting to export sensitive military equipment
Rochester, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Iteru Masui, 29, of Mikata, Japan, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with entering into an agreement to illegally export items that are export controlled by federal regulation, and illegally exporting the items. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley E. Tyler, who is handling the case, stated that in September 2012, Special Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) began to investigate an eBay advertisement offering AN/PRC-152 radios for sale. The radios, manufactured by the Harris Corporation located in Rochester N.Y., are identified by the National Security Agency as a Controlled Cryptographic Item and are not for sale to the general public.
“Protecting sensitive military technology is of the utmost importance to the American public,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “This Office will continue to pursue and prosecute those who would attempt to both steal such sensitive secrets, or to export them abroad.”
"The illegal exportation of sensitive communications technology undermines the national security of the United States," said James C. Spero, Special Agent in charge of HSI Buffalo. "HSI will continue to work closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office to identify and disrupt these schemes."
Investigation revealed that the defendant attempted to buy one of the radios. According to the complaint, special agents tracked the attempted sale through Masui’s email address which is owned by KDDI Corporation, a telecommunications company based in Tokyo, Japan. Also according to the complaint, the address listed on the defendant’s eBay account belonged to a freight forwarding business with offices in Washington State and Tokyo. A review of Masui’s eBay purchases between December 2010 and January 2013 uncovered a total of 1,407 purchases including antennae for U.S. radios, body armor and military style optical sights.
Between April 4, 2013 and May 9, 2013, an undercover agent corresponded with the defendant via email and offered to sell Masui two of the AN/PRC-152 radios. The defendant agreed to buy the radios for $4,500. Over a several day period in May, 2013, an undercover agent shipped two boxes to the defendant, with each containing a plastic mock-up of the radio equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS). The complaint further indicates that the boxes were followed as they were turned over to the United States Postal Service for delivery to Tokyo, with falsified Custom Declaration forms attached.
Iteru Masui was arrested in Seattle, Washington on January 13 on the complaint which had been sealed up until this time. The defendant made an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Seattle late this afternoon.
The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.