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Press Release

Former Executives of Military Contractor Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Exporting Weapons Parts

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Tennessee

Four former employees of Sabre Defence Industries, LLC (“Sabre”), a defense contractor formerly based in Nashville, were sentenced Friday in connection with their role in illegally exporting firearm components and other defense items, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.  During sentencing hearings on Friday, August 19, U.S. District Court Judge Todd J. Campbell imposed the following sentences:

  • Charles Shearon, 60, of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, the former Sabre President, was sentenced to 18 months in prison;
  • Elmer Hill, 69, of Brentwood, Tennessee, the former Sabre Chief Financial Officer, was sentenced to 15 months in prison;
  • Michael Curlett, 49, of Wixom, Michigan, the former Sabre Director of Sales and Marketing, was sentenced to 13 months in prison; and
  • Arnold See, Jr., 59, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the former Sabre International Shipping and Purchasing Manager, was sentenced to 13 months in prison.

All defendants were also ordered to serve one year of supervised release at the conclusion of their prison terms.

Each of the four defendants pleaded guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act, and to conspiring to do so. Sabre had contracts with the U.S. government valued at more than $74 million for the manufacture of certain military-grade weapons, including the M16 rifle and other semi-automatic and fully-automatic firearms.  In pleading guilty, each of these four defendants admitted to conspiring to export firearms and firearm components that were classified as defense articles without first obtaining the required authorization from the U.S. Department of State.  The four defendants also acknowledged their role in attempting to conceal Sabre’s illegal exports through the use of falsified shipping documents and, at times, the use of shipping crates with false bottoms. Sabre maintained a fictitious set of business books to conceal its unlawful shipments of firearm parts, lied about the value of items on shipping documents, and illegally imported firearm silencers.

Guy Savage, 47, of London, England, has also been charged in this same case and is facing extradition proceedings. An indictment is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt, and Savage is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations and by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, with assistance from the Department of Defense-Defense Criminal Investigative Service.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William F. Abely and John K. Webb.

Updated August 22, 2016