BOSTON – Two Malaysian nationals were arrested today and charged with conspiring to illegally export firearms and firearm parts from the United States to an individual located in Hong Kong, China.
Lionel Chan, 35, who resided in Brighton, Mass., and Muhammad Radzi, 26, who resided in Brooklyn, N.Y., were each charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act. Chan was also charged with one count of obstruction of justice. Chan will appear this afternoon in federal court in Boston and Radzi will appear in federal court in the Eastern District of New York.
According to the criminal complaint, beginning in or around March 2018, Chan began purchasing a variety of U.S.-origin firearm parts, including parts used to assemble AR-15 assault rifles and 9MM semi-automatic handguns, at the request of a buyer in Hong Kong. Chan purchased the parts online through a variety of websites, including eBay and gunbroker.com. These firearm parts are restricted items and cannot be exported from the United States without a license. Nevertheless, Chan allegedly shipped the firearm parts via Federal Express to the buyer in Hong Kong without first obtaining the necessary export licenses. Chan intentionally concealed the contents of the shipments by providing false descriptions of the items contained in each shipment and by concealing the parts inside the package. For example, in one text exchange, Chan and the Hong Kong buyer discussed how to illegally ship a Glock 19 semi-automatic handgun. The Hong Kong buyer wrote, “this is how we are shipping the Glock 19 and USP compact barrel. I usually stuff them into a pair of sneakers, and cover it with Doritos or chips.” Between March and May 2018, Chan shipped 12 packages from Brighton, Mass., to the buyer in Hong Kong.
In or around April 2018, Radzi allegedly joined the conspiracy and began illegally exporting firearm parts to Hong Kong as well. Between May and October 2018, Radzi allegedly shipped 21 packages from Brooklyn, N.Y., to the buyer in Hong Kong. In October 2018, two of those packages were interdicted by Hong Kong authorities and found to contain numerous firearms parts, including a firing pin and gun sight, which were export-controlled. Like Chan, Radzi failed to obtain an export license for any of these shipments.
Chan allegedly obstructed justice by deleting numerous text messages relating to illegally exporting firearms during a flight from Dublin, Ireland, to Boston, Mass.
The charge of conspiring to illegally export firearms provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The charge of obstructing justice provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew Lelling and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. The Massachusetts State Police and U.S. Customs and Border Protection also assisted in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys George P. Varghese and Jason A. Casey of Lelling’s National Security Unit are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.