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Press Release

Former Tungsten Heavy Powder & Parts CEO Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Export United States Defense Articles including to The People’s Republic of China

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

For Further Information, Contact:
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kareem A. Salem (619) 546-8904 and John Parmley (619) 546-7957

SAN DIEGO – Joe Sery, former owner and chief executive officer of Tungsten Heavy Powder & Parts, pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo to conspiring to commit offenses against the United States, including the unlawful exportation of defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List from the United States to the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, and elsewhere, without first obtaining a valid license or approval for such export from the U.S. Department of State, in violation of federal export laws pursuant to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

According to his plea agreement, Sery admitted that, while the CEO of Tungsten Heavy Parts and Powder, he was educated and trained on the requirements of U.S. export control laws, which prohibit the unlicensed export of items and data contained on the U.S. Munitions List. Sery entered into contracts with various defense contractors related to munitions and obtained ITAR-controlled technical data from them.  Thereafter, knowing it was unlawful, he provided this information to a foreign national, his brother, who took the technical data to the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, and elsewhere at Sery’s direction.  Sery also permitted his brother full access to THPP’s file system while overseas, knowing that it contained export-controlled technical data. 

“As CEO of a company with multiple defense contracts, Sery was entrusted with controlled information that he knew he had to protect, yet he completely disregarded security regulations and allowed sensitive data to be sent to China, India and elsewhere,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “He is now being held accountable.”  Grossman commended the prosecutors and Homeland Security Investigations and Defense Criminal Investigative Service agents who diligently pursued this case.

“This individual willfully violated the law that prevents controlled technical data from falling into the hands of Americas’ adversaries,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego Special Agent in Charge Chad Plantz. “This guilty plea should serve as a reminder that HSI and our law enforcement partners will diligently investigate and bring to justice anyone attempting to disregard our federal export laws.”

“Mr. Sery’s guilty plea is an acknowledgement of his role in a scheme to illegally export critical defense information and technology,” said Bryan D. Denny, Special Agent in Charge for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Western Field Office.  “As exemplified in this case, DCIS and our law enforcement partners will ensure all appropriate actions are taken to investigate and successfully prosecute those who engage in illicit activities that threaten our nation’s defense.”

DEFENDANT                       Case Number 21CR2898-GPC

Joe Sery                                   Age: 77                       San Diego, CA



Conspiracy to Commit Offenses Against the United States (to wit: Exportation of Defense Articles Without a License- Title 18 U.S.C., Section 371; Title 22 U.S.C., 2778(b)(2), (c); Title 22 CFR Sections, 120, 121.1 , 123.1, 127.l(a)(4)

Maximum penalty: Five years in prison and $250,000 fine



U.S. Homeland Security Investigations

U.S. Defense Criminal Investigative Services

U.S. Army, Criminal Investigation Division

National Security Division, Department of Justice 

Updated July 27, 2022

Export Control
Press Release Number: CAS22-0609-Sery