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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Friday, March 23, 2018

Pennsylvania Man Charged With Illegally Exporting Firearm Parts To Iraq

SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging Ross Roggio, age 49, of Stroudsburg, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, and Roggio Consulting Company, LLC, a firm with which Ross Roggio was associated, for alleged involvement in a conspiracy to illegally export firearm parts, firearm manufacturing tools, and “defense services,” including items used to manufacture M4 rifles, from the United States to Iraq, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

According to U.S. Attorney David J. Freed, the indictment charges Ross Roggio and Roggio Consulting Company, LLC with criminal conspiracy, illegal export of goods, wire fraud, and money laundering. Pursuant to regulations of the U.S. Department of Commerce, a license is required to export certain goods and services from the United States to Iraq for reasons of regional stability and national security.  Similarly, defense services and defense articles may not be exported to Iraq without a license from the U.S. Department of State.

The indictment alleges that, beginning in January of 2013 until the date of the indictment, Ross Roggio conspired to export both items and services from the United States to Iraq, without the required U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. State Department licenses.  The conspirators allegedly purchased firearms parts and manufacturing tools from the United States, illegally exported the items to Iraq where the items were utilized and incorporated in the manufacture and assembly of complete firearms in a firearms manufacturing plant constructed and operated in part by Ross Roggio.  It is alleged that the items illegally exported included: M4 Bolt Gas Rings MIL; Firing Pin Retainers; Rifling Combo Buttons, and “defense services.”  The defense services allegedly provided by Ross Roggio and his firm include the furnishing of assistance to foreign persons in the manufacture of firearms.

In addition to the charges relating to export controls violations, the indictment also alleges that Ross Roggio and his firm committed wire fraud on at least three occasions by purchasing items from a United States company and providing said company with false information about the end-user of the items.  Finally, the indictment charges Ross Roggio and his firm with 27 counts of money laundering in the form of bank transfers from Iraq to two accounts within the Middle District of Pennsylvania, in furtherance of their unlawful export conspiracy.

“The conduct alleged in this indictment directly violates laws enacted to keep our nation secure,” said United States Attorney Freed.  “We commend the FBI, HSI and Department of Commerce for their outstanding efforts in this complicated international case.  We will not allow anyone to put profits above our security, at home or abroad.”

“The Office of Export Enforcement vigorously pursues violators of our nation’s export control laws, which are in place to further and protect our national security and foreign policy. As in this instance, we work closely with our colleagues at the FBI and HSI and other agencies in prosecuting this case,” said Jonathan Carson, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement, New York Field Office. 

"U.S. export controls are in place to keep our nation's most sensitive military and defense technologies from falling into the wrong hands," said Marlon V. Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. "One of HSI's highest priorities is to prevent the illicit procurement and proliferation of export-controlled military and defense commodities in violation of United States law."

"As alleged, this defendant brazenly flouted U.S. arms export controls enacted in the interests of our national security, and international stability," said Michael Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. "It suggests an all too familiar attitude: in the face of an illegal, but very lucrative, plan -- laws be damned."

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd K. Hinkley for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and Trial Attorneys Scott Claffee and Heather Alpino, of the National Security Division, Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. 

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The combined maximum penalty under federal law for these offenses is 705 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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National Security
Updated March 23, 2018