Thai National Sentenced to Prison Term for Attempting to Unlawfully Export Firearm Parts from the United States to Thailand
WASHINGTON –Thai national Apichart Srivaranon 34, was sentenced today in the District of Columbia to 26 months in prison on federal charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to export defense articles from the United States to Thailand.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of the Baltimore Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Srivaranon pleaded guilty to charges in both Maryland and the District of Columbia in January and March 2019, respectively, as required by his plea agreement in each District.
In the District of Columbia, he was sentenced today by the Honorable Reggie B. Walton. In Maryland, he was sentenced on April 11, 2018 by the Honorable George J. Hazel, who imposed a sentence of 26 months of incarceration and a forfeiture of $10,000. The sentences imposed in both cases will be served concurrently. Following his prison terms, Srivaranon will be deported from the United States and returned to Thailand.
Srivaranon admitted that between 2012 and 2014, he conspired with individuals in the United States and Thailand to obtain firearm parts in the United States that were listed on the United States Munitions List (USML) and then exported, and attempted to export, the firearm parts to Thailand without having first obtained the required license or written authorization from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, an office in the United States Department of State.
As detailed in his plea agreements, during the conspiracy, Srivaranon and his co-conspirators ordered firearms parts on the USML from U.S.-based firearms parts retailers and caused those firearms parts to ship to addresses in the United States where co-conspirators lived, visited, or conducted business. At the direction of Srivaranon and others, co-conspirators would then repackage the USML firearms parts in the United States; falsely label United States Postal Services Form 2976 and Customs Declarations CN 22 (sender’s declarations forms) by using fake names for return addresses; falsely declare the contents of the packages and understate their value; and then ship the USML firearms parts to Thailand via the U.S. mail and private shipping companies. This was done to conceal the prohibited exports from detection by the U.S. government.
In the District of Columbia cases, Srivaranon admitted that to facilitate the scheme, he and others deposited funds into co-conspirators’ bank accounts in Thailand. The funds were deposited in Thai Baht currency. The co-conspirators would then withdraw U.S. dollars from automatic teller machines in the United States, as payment for their participation in the scheme.
Srivaranon was arrested in Las Vegas, Nev. on January 22, 2018, after flying there from Thailand to attend a trade show unrelated to the charges in the case. He has been in custody since his arrest.
In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Liu, U.S. Attorney Hur, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Morant commended the work of those who investigated the case from the HSI’s Baltimore Field Office. They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who worked on the case from the District of Columbia, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick Yette and Trial Attorney Rebecca A. Caruso of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. They also commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly Hayes and Bryan Foreman, who handled the related prosecution in the District of Maryland.