Pakastani Man Arrested For Making False Statements Regarding Assault Rifle Accessories
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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BUFFALO, N.Y.–U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today Agha Muhammad Khan Durrani, 27, of Pakistan, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with making false statements during an attempt to unlawfully export merchandise consisting of weapons parts. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“As this case demonstrates, our nation’s borders must continue to be guarded against a wide variety of threats, including that posed by international arms traffickers,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Border authorities from both the United States and Canada should be commended for their diligence in capturing this particular defendant.”
“Preventing the exportation of weapon parts is a crucial part of CBP’s mission and protecting our borders,” said Acting Director Rose Hilmey of Customs and Border Protection’s Buffalo Field Office. “Our close working relationship with both HSI and the U.S. Attorney’s office ensured that this discovery was pursued and the person will face criminal charges. I’m extremely proud of the dedication our officers display each and every day, ensuring our nation is safe and protecting the public.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on July 19, 2016, the defendant and his father were escorted by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Rainbow Bridge. Durrani told a CBP officer that he and his father were going to Cabela’s Sporting Goods in Cheektowaga, NY to return assault rifle accessories and a scope purchased on July 18, 2016. The defendant attempted to bring the items into Canada.
The items specifically consisted of:
• Assault rifle rail systems
• Assault rifle grips
• Assault rifle mounting system
• Assault rifle buffer system
• Assault rifle stocks
• Assault rifle hand guards
• Assault rifle back up lights
According to the complaint, such items are included on the United States Munitions List and require a license to export which Durrani did not have.
During a secondary inspection, the defendant told a CBP officer he wanted to bring the assault rifle accessories back to Pakistan to be used for hunting and defending his family’s property and land.
Subsequent investigation determined that Durrani’s cellular telephone included photographs of multiple variants of assault rifles and hand guns and rifle components and accessories. There was also a photograph of a Nightforce BEAST 5-25x56mm F1 Riflescope on Amazon.com with the message “This item does not ship to Canada. Please check other sellers who may ship internationally.”
A check of the defendant’s email showed a series of messages with another individual dated July 14, 2016. This email chain showed that Durrani had a shipment of similar weapons accessories ready to be picked up in Thailand with a value of $10,800. In the email the defendant responded that he was currently in Canada and that he would have to pick his shipment up at a later date and time.
The complaint further states that while Durrani initially told CBP officers the weapon parts would only be used for personal use, the defendant later admitted that he sells guns, gun parts, ammo, and accessories in Pakistan through a business that he owns there.
The defendant made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder and was ordered detained.
The complaint is the culmination of an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero and Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Acting Director of Field Operations Rose Hilmey.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.