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Press Release

Turkish National Convicted of Arms Export Control Act Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Hamza Kolsuz, 43, a Turkish national, was convicted today by the Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III on three counts relating to his attempted exportation of weapons parts to the Republic of Turkey in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

Kolsuz was indicted on March 2, 2016.  According to court records and the evidence at trial, Kolsuz has on at least three occasions since 2012 attempted to smuggle various weapons parts to Turkey.  Kolsuz, who engaged in this unlawful conduct for profit along with other individuals, purchased weapons and weapons parts in the United States and then traveled with them to Turkey, where they would be reassembled and sold.  In an attempt to circumvent U.S. weapons exportation laws, Kolsuz would either pack the weapons parts in luggage and check the bags in connection with flights to the Republic of Turkey, or he would send weapons parts through the mail.

According to evidence presented at trial, on December 2, 2012, Kolsuz checked in for a flight at JFK International Airport in New York with a final destination of Istanbul, Republic of Turkey.  His checked luggage included: forty upper receivers for semi-automatic pistols; twenty grip modules for Sig Sauer pistols; sixteen barrels for semi-automatic pistols; twenty-six firearms magazines for firearms; and one pistol grip.

On January 8, 2013, Kolsuz checked in for a flight at JFK International Airport with a final destination of Istanbul.  Despite having been specifically informed on December 2, 2012 that it was illegal to export weapons parts without an export license, his checked luggage contained one Beretta slide, one firearm barrel, one Beretta recoil spring, and one Beretta guide rod.

On February 2, 2016, Kolsuz began his return trip to Istanbul by checking in at Miami International Airport for a flight that took him to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.  He then checked in for a flight that was to take him and his checked luggage from Cleveland through Washington Dulles International Airport before embarking for Istanbul.  In Cleveland, Kolsuz checked luggage containing four 9mm Glock 31-round magazines; four 9mm Glock 17-round magazines; four 9mm Glock 15-round magazines; eight 9mm Glock 10-round magazines; one 9mm Smith & Wesson 32-round magazine; four 9mm Sig Sauer handgun barrels; and five 9mm threaded Glock 19 barrels, in addition to various other weapons parts.

All of the weapons parts found in Kolsuz’s checked luggage on December 2, 2012; January 8, 2013; and February 2, 2016 are and were defense articles controlled on the United States Munitions List and therefore required a license or other written authorization from the United States Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (the “DDTC”) in order to be lawfully exported from the United States.  Kolsuz has never applied for and has never received any licenses or other written authorization from the DDTC to export defense articles from the United States.  Accordingly, on each occasion when weapons parts were found in Kolsuz’s checked luggage, all of the parts were seized by law enforcement and were never returned to Kolsuz.

Kolsuz faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on October 7, 2016.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, made the announcement after the verdict was announced.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather N. Alpino and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis M. Fitzpatrick.

HSI Washington, D.C., received assistance with this investigation from HSI New York and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-cr-53.

Updated July 5, 2016

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