United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Oregon Man Sentenced For Attempting To Illegally Export
Military-Grade Rifle Scopes Overseas
Items Subject to Special Licenses Under International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
GEOFFREY B. ROOSE, 28, of Corvallis, Oregon, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 10 months in prison and two years of supervised release for attempting to violate the Arms Export Control Act, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. ROOSE came to the attention of law enforcement after listing for sale on eBay several restricted, military-grade rifle scopes. ROOSE was indicted in February 2012 and pleaded guilty in March 2012. At sentencing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour told him he could not overlook the attitude ROOSE displayed in response to warnings that selling the scopes overseas was illegal. “These are not hunting scopes,” Judge Coughenour said. “These are killing scopes.”
“The laws on exporting military equipment are designed to protect our country and our servicemen,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “This prison sentence should be a warning to anyone considering sales that will damage our security for their personal profit.”
According to records in the case, an agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) learned that ROOSE had sold export-restricted rifle scopes to individuals overseas without a required export license. ROOSE had continued to list rifle scopes for sale on eBay. The investigator sent ROOSE an email via the eBay site advising him that the rifle scopes that he was advertising were restricted for export. The agent received an email in response that read only “Thanks.” Despite that warning, ROOSE continued to offer the restricted items for sale on eBay with no limitation on where they could be exported. Acting in an undercover capacity, an agent purchased one of the rifle scopes, asking that it be shipped to an address in Europe. ROOSE shipped the scope, but it was seized by law enforcement before it left the United States. ROOSE described the rifle scope on customs paperwork as being a “telescope w/Mount” valued at $150.00. ROOSE had sold the rifle scope to the agent for $1699.99. A court authorized search of ROOSE’s email account revealed that he had previously taken steps to conceal the export of a rifle scope to a customer overseas because the scope was restricted for export. Investigators also uncovered emails where ROOSE told one critic “try worrying about your life, not stupid federal ITAR rules or stolen property.”
In asking that ROOSE be sentenced to 18 months in prison, prosecutors highlighted his willful disregard of multiple warnings that it was illegal to send the high tech devices overseas. “There is simply no excuse for Roose’s conduct. He was given every opportunity to change course and do the right thing. He was explicitly warned by the undercover ICE agent. He received a warning from the United States Postal Service. He received a warning from a stranger. Every product that he shipped was stamped with a warning about export. Nonetheless, he continued selling restricted items overseas, and was stopped only by his arrest,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
“It’s always disturbing when an American illegally exports equipment that could be used on the battlefield against U.S. military servicemen,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “HSI will continue to work aggressively to stem the flow of restricted items from the U.S.”
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Woods.