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Press Release

Russian Citizen Sentenced To Federal Prison For Illegally Exporting Firearm Parts To Russia

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

            Savannah, GA: Viacheslav Zhukov, 33, a Russian citizen and lawful permanent resident of the United States, was sentenced last week by United States District Court Judge William T. Moore, Jr. to 51 months in federal prison for his role in illegally exporting firearm accessories from Savannah, Georgia to co-conspirators in Russia.

According to evidence presented during the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Zhukov mailed multiple packages containing firearm magnifier scopes to Russia without obtaining an export license from the United States Department of Commerce.  Various firearm magnifier scopes are controlled under the Export Administration Regulations for crime control purposes and require a license from the United States Department of Commerce to export to Russia.  In an attempt to conceal his crimes, Zhukov misrepresented the contents of packages he mailed to Russia on United States Postal Service Customs Declaration forms.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Our export laws are critical in protecting the national security of the United States.  I am proud that our law enforcement community quickly investigated Zhukov and successfully seized many of these packages before they ended up in the wrong hands.  We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to enforce national security laws for the safety of all Americans.”

“We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to dismantle and disrupt any illicit scheme involving the illegal exportation of weapons and related material, including in this case sensitive firearms accessories intended for Russia,” said Special Agent in Charge Brock D. Nicholson of HSI Atlanta, who oversees the agency’s criminal investigations in Georgia and the Carolinas.  “This case is a perfect example of the great work being done by our Border Enforcement Security Task Force in Savannah.”
“U. S. Customs & Border Protection, through a harmonized multi-agency effort with Homeland Security Investigations and as part of the Savannah Border Enforcement Task Force, has been successful in preventing the illegal export of weapon accessories to Russia.  Today’s sentence is the best evidence of an already successful partnership in our shared areas of interest,” said Lisa Beth Brown, U. S. Customs & Border Protection Area Port Director in Savannah, Georgia.  
Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Chief Julie Tolbert, who was acting Chief at the time of arrest, pointed to the arrest by a Metro detective assigned to the Department of Homeland Security and the assistance of Metro SWAT officers as positive signs that the department is working with all agencies to protect the public.  “Nothing good could come from a foreign visitor purchasing parts to weapons in Savannah and sending them to other parts of the world,” she said.  “Through our association with Homeland Security, we were able to curtail a dangerous situation.  I applaud our officers and the federal agents who facilitated this investigation and arrest.”
The investigation of this case was led by HSI, with assistance from U. S. Customs & Border Protection, U. S. Postal Inspection Service, and Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorneys Tania Groover and Charlie Bourne prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.  For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

Updated April 13, 2015