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Press Release

Texas Man Sentenced For Illegal Export Of Night Vision Devices

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland
Undercover Agent in Baltimore Investigated Export Violations

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced David Kelley, age 46, of Richmond, Texas today to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for the unlawful export of arms and munitions, specifically, night vision devices.

The sentence was 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). 

According to his plea agreement, Kelley ran a business named "Optical Solutions and More" that sold night vision and other military-style items, primarily over eBay.  Kelley entered into distributor agreements with night vision manufacturers in which he acknowledged that he was aware of restrictions known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) which prohibited the unlicensed export of U.S. munitions list items, including the export of night vision devices using Generations 2 and newer technology.

            After entering into these agreements, Kelley discussed circumventing ITAR restrictions with foreign customers who responded to his internet listings.  Between May 2011 and February 2012, Kelley made approximately 60 shipments containing

ITAR-restricted weapons parts and night vision devices destined for customers in 24 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Russia, the Philippines, United Kingdom and Japan. To disguise the ITAR violations, Kelley variously labeled these shipments as "toys," "toy blocks," "spotting scope," and "monocular parts."  In exchange for these shipments, Kelley collected over $140,000 in 150 separate PayPal transactions.

In September 201l, an undercover HSI agent located in Baltimore posed as a buyer from New Zealand and contacted Kelley to ask if Kelley would export an ATN Generation 4 Monocular Night Vision Device.  Kelley acknowledged in an email that such an export violated ITAR and demanded additional payment for risking prosecution. On October 24, 2011, Kelley exported the device, which is designated as a defense article on the U.S. munitions list, to New Zealand, without first obtaining a license from the State Department.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised ICE Baltimore for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam K. Ake, who prosecuted the case.

Updated February 4, 2016

National Security