Pizza Shop Owner Pleads Guilty To Charges Of Unlawfully Exporting Firearms And Accessories To Pakistan
Baltimore, Maryland - Kamran Ashfaq Malik, age 35, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland pleaded guilty today to unlawfully exporting semi-automatic rifles, parts and accessories to Pakistan. Co-defendant Waleed Aftab, age 22, also of Upper Marlboro, pleaded guilty to the same charge on December 19, 2014.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Malik owned and operated a pizza shop in Upper Marlboro, and maintained a second residence in Lahore, Pakistan. Aftab worked at the pizza shop. According to Malik’s plea agreement, between September and October 2012, Malik purchased, or caused to be purchased, approximately 48 AR-15 100 round dual drum magazines from various firearms and related accessories dealers. In order to take advantage of the lack of magazine capacity restrictions in Virginia, some of the purchases were made by Malik under the name, Virginia address and bank account of an associate. In other instances Malik provided a false commercial shipping address in Springfield, Virginia.
Between October and November 2012, Malik shipped or caused Aftab and others to ship, several illegal shipments of firearms and firearms parts and accessories to Lahore, Pakistan. In order to conceal the unlawful export of defense items, which are controlled for export, Malik placed false return addresses and names on the packages, as well as falsely identified the contents of the packages, and falsely declared the contents to be of nominal value. Malik directed Aftab to do the same.
On November 28, 2012, during a routine airport security screening in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, one of the packages was found to contain firearm parts and accessories that are prohibited from export to Pakistan without an export license, including: two lower receivers of a semi-automatic rifle, two rifle bolt carriers, rounds of magazines, an optical gun sight and an LED rail mounted flashlight with laser. The defendants never obtained the required licenses to export such items.
According to Aftab’s statement of facts, on December 1, 2012, just prior to boarding a flight at JFK International Airport in New York destined for Pakistan, Aftab was found to be in possession of a receipt reflecting the sale of six AR- 15 style semi-automatic rifle magazines that Malik purchased the previous September.
On March 7, 2013, after arriving at JFK Airport from Pakistan, Malik’s cell phone and laptop computer were subjected to a border search. Malik’s cell phone contained pictures of AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles and magazines, in some cases in the hands of individuals. The pictures were taken at locations near his residences in Pakistan and Maryland. A text message was also found on Malik’s phone that referenced the tracking number of the shipment detained in Dubai.
On March 6, 2014, Malik dropped off a package for shipment to Pakistan. Malik provided a false address and falsely identified the contents as “screw holders and metal screws.” Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents intercepted the package, which was found to contain 28 .223 caliber bolt carriers. Those items are regulated for export. Malik never sought nor obtained a valid export license for those items.
Malik received numerous export warnings regarding the export restrictions on firearms and related accessories. A notice of these export restrictions were contained on the firearms transaction records for various weapons purchased by Malik between 2012 and 2013, including the purchase of the Colt M-4 whose lower receiver was confiscated in Dubai. In addition, the shipping invoice receipts for the various shipments to Pakistan completed by Malik, or Aftab acting at his direction, contained an export notice and signature block for the shipper certifying that the identifying information for the package was accurate and that it was being shipped in accordance with U.S. export regulations.
Malik and Aftab each face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the unlawful smuggling of goods from the United States. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz has scheduled sentencing for Malik on June 26, 2015, at 9:30 a.m., and for Aftab on March 20, 2015, at 10:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised Baltimore HSI for their work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Christine Manuelian, who is prosecuting the case.