Thai Man Sentenced to 55 Months in Prison For Conspiracy to Violate Arms Export Control Act And International Traffic in Arms Regulations
Case Involved Significant Amounts of Gun Parts
WASHINGTON – Pheerayuth Burden, 47, a Thai national who had been living in Torrance, California, was sentenced today to 55 months in prison for taking part in a conspiracy involving the purchase and shipment of hundreds of gun parts and accessories from the United States to Thailand without a license. His company, Wing-On LLC, also was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.
The sentencing was announced by U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Washington, D.C.
On Sept. 30, 2016, following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, a jury found Burden and Wing-On LLC guilty of one count of conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, one count of unlawful export of defense articles from the United States, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The Honorable Rosemary M. Collyer sentenced Burden and the company today. Following his prison term, Burden will be placed on three years of supervised release. He and the company also were ordered to pay a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $105,112.
A co-defendant, Kitibordee Yindeear-Rom, 30, a native and citizen of Thailand, pled guilty to a conspiracy charge in November 2014. Yindeear-Rom was sentenced in March 2015 to a three-year prison term.
According to the government’s evidence, beginning at least in or about July 2010, Burden, Wing-On, LLC and Yindeear-Rom entered into an agreement to illegally ship United States origin goods, including defense articles - specifically gun parts - to Thailand. As part of their agreement, Yindeear-Rom purchased gun parts from United States manufacturers through on-line purchases, and directed the purchased items to be sent to Burden and Wing-On, which was based in Carson, Calif., to conceal the ultimate destination of the purchases.
Upon receipt of the gun parts, the items would be repackaged for shipment to Thailand. Extending through at least October 2013 as part of the conspiracy, Burden and Yindeear-Rom caused to be purchased and shipped hundreds of different gun parts from the United States to Thailand without a license. These gun parts included, for example, numerous firearm parts, including key components for AR-15 military-style assault rifles.
The jury found that Burden and his company, Wing-On, LLC, acted without a license and in knowing violation of federal export and money-laundering law.
“This defendant and his company exported numerous gun parts and accessories outside the United States, repeatedly breaking the law to make a profit,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “This prosecution demonstrates that there will be consequences for those who disregard export laws and threaten our national security.”
“The U.S. has export laws in place to ensure that firearms and sensitive technologies are properly monitored when they are shipped overseas,” said Special Agent in Charge Settles. “Kudos to the HSI special agents who disrupted this export scheme.”
In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Special Agent in Charge Settles commended the efforts of the Special Agents who investigated the case for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher B. Brown, Zia Faruqui, and Michael Friedman; Paralegal Specialists Elana Buruncenco and Jorge Casillas; Victim/Witness Advocates Yvonne Bryant and Tonya Jones, and Litigation Technology Specialists Anisha Bhatia and Josh Ellen. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tejpal Chawla and Opher Shweiki, who prosecuted the case.