ARMY CAPTAIN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO ILLEGALLY SMUGGLE FIREARMS PARTS TO JAPAN
Military Intelligence Officer Knew He Needed Permit to Send Firearms Parts to Japan
TOMOAKI IISHIBA, 34, a Captain in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Conspiracy to Smuggle Goods from the United States. In his plea agreement IISHIBA admits that he shipped firearms parts including holographic night vision firearms sites to contacts in Japan, with false information on the customs declaration forms. When sentenced on November 7, 2008, IISHIBA faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and $250,000 fine.
IISHIBA joined the U.S. Army in 1999. He currently is assigned at Fort Lewis as an Assistant Operations Officer. Previously IISHIBA was sent to Japan as a Military Intelligence Officer who was to act as a liaison to the Japanese military and was involved in training Japanese soldiers. In the plea agreement, IISHIBA admits that between 2006 and February 2008, IISHIBA shipped EoTech 553 holographic night vision compatible firearm sights; EoTech 550 firearm sights; upper receivers modified for Airsoft; and various scopes to individuals and business contacts in Japan. IISHIBA had met these contacts while serving in the military in Japan. In October and December 2006, IISHIBA shipped sixty of the holographic sites to a contact in Japan. IISHIBA purposely mislabeled the customs form for the shipment because he knew he needed a license to ship the firearms parts to Japan.
In the plea agreement, the government and IISHIBA’s attorney agree to jointly recommend a sentence of three years probation noting that “the defendant did not intend to threaten a security or foreign policy interest of the United States, and that defendant’s conduct did not constitute such a threat.” U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman is not bound by that recommendation when she imposes sentence.
“Knowingly exporting sensitive military technology is a violation of federal law,” said Leigh Winchell, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Investigations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Seattle. “ICE continues to work closely with its law enforcement partners to investigate this type of activity to ensure that our nation’s security is not breached in this manner.”
In court today, attorneys said IISHIBA’s future with the military is unclear. As a convicted felon he is prohibited from possessing firearms.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.
In October 2007, the Justice Department announced the launch of a national export enforcement initiative to harness the counter-proliferation assets of U.S. law enforcement, licensing, and intelligence agencies in order to better combat the growing national security threat posed by illegal exports of restricted U.S. military and dual-use technology. Click here for more information about the national export enforcement initiative.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.