Four Sentenced In Fort Campbell Army Equipment Conspiracy
Restricted Military Equipment Sold to Customers in Foreign Nations
Four of the seven defendants charged in a conspiracy to steal and sell U.S. Army equipment were sentenced today in U.S. District Court, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran of the Middle District of Tennessee.
John Roberts, 27, of Clarksville, Tenn., was sentenced today by visiting U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson, from the Middle District of Georgia, to serve 15 years in prison. Roberts was found guilty by a federal jury on August 31, 2017, of conspiracy to steal U.S. Army property and selling that stolen property, 10 counts of wire fraud, and two counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act. Judge Lawson also ordered Roberts to pay $4.2 million in restitution to the U.S. Army.
During the trial, the evidence proved that Roberts conspired with U.S. Army soldiers who stole U.S. Army equipment, often after hours, from the U.S. Army installation at Fort Campbell. Roberts then purchased the equipment from the soldiers, in cash only deals and often in dark parking lots. Roberts then resold this military grade equipment via eBay. Roberts knew that some of the soldiers that he was purchasing the stolen equipment from had financial problems or serious drug addictions.
The U.S. Army equipment listed for sale on eBay included sniper telescopes and other sniper rifle accessories; parts for the M249 machine gun (including barrel assemblies, trigger groups, rail adapter kits, magazine buttstocks, mounts, and heat shields); sights for the M203 grenade launcher; “red dot” sights for the M2 and M4 assault rifles; flight helmets; communications headsets; and medical supplies. Certain equipment sold on eBay was advertised as “Army Special Forces,” “USGI” (U.S. Government Issued), and “New in Package.”
The evidence at trial also proved that Roberts illegally exported certain restricted U.S. Army equipment, including night vision helmet mounts. Roberts sold U.S. Army equipment to eBay customers around the world, including customers in Russia, China, Thailand, Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, India, Germany, and Mexico.
Three other defendants previously pleaded guilty and were also sentenced today, including:
- Alexander Hollibaugh, formerly of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and sell U.S. Army property, was sentenced to time served and placed on probation;
- U.S. Army Specialist Dustin Nelson, 23 of Northville, New York, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and sell U.S. Army property, was sentenced to three years’ probation; and
- Aaron Warner, of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and sell U.S. Army property, was also placed on three years’ probation.
The four remaining defendants have also pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced on January 8, 2018. They are Michael Barlow and Jonathan Wolford, both of Clarksville, Tenn., Kyle Heade, of Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Cory Wilson, of Gonzalez, Louisiana. Each faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the conspiracy charge. Wilson faces up to 20 years for each count of wire fraud and violating the Arms Export Control Act. In addition, Barlow faces up to 10 years in prison on the theft charge. The defendants also face forfeiture of the proceeds of their crimes.
This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas J. Jaworski and Courtney L. Coker prosecuted the case.