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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

California Man Arraigned on Federal Indictment Alleging Illegal Exporting of Defense Articles, False Statements and International Money Laundering Charges

ALBUQUERQUE – Steven J. Anichowski, 26, of San Diego, Calif., was arraigned yesterday morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., on an indictment charging him with conspiring to violate the Illegal Export and Attempted Export of Defense Articles Act by scheming to illegally export defense articles to Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and other charges.

 U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge Jack P. Staton of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso and Inspector in Charge Melisa Llosa of the Phoenix Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced the filing of charges against Anichowski, and his co-defendants, Jonathan J. McGechie, 31, of Socorro, N.M., and Takumi Nishimori, a Japanese national.

The indictment alleges that from Sept. 2010 through April 2016, Anichowski procured, sold and shipped firearm components, defense articles and military items, which were on the U.S. Munitions List and subject to export control by the U.S. Department of State, directly and through intermediaries, to individuals in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.  The indictment further alleges that Anichowski did not apply for a license or authorization from the U.S. Department of State, to ship these items overseas, and did not register with the U.S. Department of State as required under the Arms Export Control Act. 

According to the indictment, in Jan. 2014, Nishimori was involved in illegally procuring firearm components from Anichowski and others in the United States and elsewhere as part of an international network that allegedly trafficked in firearm components, defense articles, and military items.  The indictment alleges that Anichowski exported firearm components, defense articles, and military items to individuals, including Nishimori, using the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).  It also alleges that on numerous occasions between Jan. 2014 and Aug. 2016, Anichowski directed others, including McGechie, to falsify USPS international shipment forms by falsely describing items to be shipped, undervaluing the items, and mischaracterizing the end-user information. 

The seven-count indictment, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on Feb. 14, 2018, contains the following charges:

  • Count 1 charges Anichowski and Nishimori with conspiracy to violate the Illegal Export and Attempted Export of Defense Articles Act.  The statutory penalty on conviction is maximum of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
  • Count 2 charges Anichowski and Nishimori with violating the Illegal Export and Attempted Export of Defense Article Act by exporting and attempting to export defense articles to Japan without the required license or authorization from the U.S. Department of State in March 2016.  The statutory penalty on conviction is maximum of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
  • Count 3 charges Anichowski and Nishimori with violating the Illegal Export and Attempted Export of Defense Article Act by exporting and attempting to export defense articles to Taiwan without the required license or authorization from the U.S. Department of State in June 2016.  The statutory penalty on conviction is maximum of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
  • Count 4 charges that Anichowski and Nishimori with smuggling military articles from the United States from Jan. 2014 through Aug. 2016.  The statutory penalty on conviction is maximum of ten years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
  • Counts 5 and 6 charge Anichowski and McGechie, respectively, with making false statements on Customs Forms in which each falsely described firearms parts as toy parts on in 2016.  The statutory penalty on conviction is maximum of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
  • Count 7 charges Anichowski and Nishimori with committing money laundering by transmitting funds derived from illegally exporting defense articles from Japan to the United States through an online payment account to promote the carrying out of unlawful activity in April 2015.  The statutory penalty on conviction is a maximum of 20 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine.
     

During yesterday’s arraignment hearing, Anichowski entered a plea of not guilty to the charges against him in the indictment.  Anichowski remains on conditions of pretrial release pending trial, which has yet to be scheduled.  Nishimori and McGechie have yet to be arrested.

Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.

The Albuquerque office of HSI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service led the investigation of this case with assistance from the FBI, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service.  Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Kraehe is prosecuting the case. 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated August 7, 2018