Rocky Mountain Instrument Company Pleads Guilty and is Sentenced for Illegally Exporting Defense Articles Without a License to Turkey, South Korea, China And Russia

Jun 22, 2010, 17:25 ET from U.S. Department of Justice

DENVER, June 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rocky Mountain Instrument Company (RMI), a Colorado corporation located in Lafayette, Colo., pleaded guilty today to one count of knowingly and willfully exporting defense articles without a license. The company was then immediately sentenced to forfeit $1 million and spend five years on probation for its criminal conduct. Attorneys for the corporation appeared in court today to tender the guilty plea to Chief U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel. RMI was originally charged by information on March 17, 2010.

According to the original information, as well as the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, between April 1, 2005 and Oct.11, 2007, RMI knowingly and willfully exported and caused to be exported from the United States to Turkey, South Korea, the People's Republic of China,and Russia, defense articles, that is, prisms and technical data related to various optics used in military applications, which were designated as defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List, without having first obtained from the U.S. Department of State a license or written authorization for such exports.

The information illegally exported by RMI involved guidance or target systems for various military applications. For example, the company admitted to illegally exporting technical data regarding:

1. Technical drawings of a Prism sent to Turkey for the manufacture of the AESLFLIR 300T (Thermal Sight Systems integrated into TIHA/Turkish Unmanned Aerial Vehicle systems).

2. Technical drawings of a Prism, Penta sent to Russia and used by the U.S. as part of the U.S. Army Future Combat Systems Multi-Function Laser System.

3. Technical drawings of a Prism, Laser sent to Russia and used by the U.S. Air Force Gunship Multispectral Sensor System for the AC-130 Gunship.

4. Technical drawings of a Lens sent to South Korea and used as part of a .50 caliber gun sight then being used by troops in Iraq.

5. Technical drawings of a Prism lens sent to South Korea and used as part of the remote thermal sight for one of the weapons systems on the Abrams tank.

6. Technical drawings of a Lens Boresight prism sent to China or South Korea and used in the optical sight for the TOW missile system.

7. Technical drawings of a Mirror sent to China and used in the Improved Bradley Acquisition System, part of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

8. Technical drawings of a Lens sent to South Korea and used in the Improved Bradley Acquisition System, part of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

9. Technical drawings of a Prism Beamsplitter sent to Russia and used in the Improved Bradley Acquisition System, part of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

10. Technical drawings of a Biocular Eyepiece sent to South Korea and used to Improved Bradley Acquisition System, part of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

"The technology illegally exported in this case involves sensitive military information," said David Gaouette, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado. "Most of the technology in question is currently being used by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as such must be protected to safeguard our military men and women."

"Today's guilty plea and sentencing against RMI illustrates that illegally exporting sensitive U.S. technology is a crime taken seriously by the U.S. Government," said Kumar Kibble, Special Agent in Charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Denver. "ICE is fully committed to enforcing U.S. export laws and regulations. We will continue to investigate individuals and organizations that illicitly trade with foreign entities." Kibble oversees a four-state area that includes Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

"The technologies illegally exported by Rocky Mountain Instrument Company are part of critical weapons systems used by our Soldiers, Marines and Airmen in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Defense Criminal Investigative Service will continue to vigorously investigate those Department of Defense contractors who violate not only the law but the trust placed in them as contractors and sub-contractors of the Department of Defense," said Special Agent in Charge J. Byron Hogan. "The technical advantage the Department of Defense possesses with regard to military optics remains critical to the success of our Warfighters and compromising that technology puts our service men and women at risk. DCIS remains committed to combating these threats in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and ICE, and ensuring that DoD weapon systems and technologies are secure."

This case was investigated by the ICE Office of Investigations, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). The Department of State has provided information as part of the investigation.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice



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