Australian Man and His Firm Indicted in Alleged Plot to Export Restricted Military and Other U.S. Technology to Iran

March 1, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on February 29, 2012 released the following:

“WASHINGTON—An Australian man and his company have been indicted today by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for conspiring to export sensitive military and other technology from the United States to Iran, including components with applications in missiles, drones, torpedoes, and helicopters.

The five-count indictment charges David Levick, 50, an Australian national, and his company, ICM Components Inc., located in Thorleigh, Australia, each with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Arms Export Control Act; as well as four counts of illegally exporting goods to an embargoed nation in violation of IEEPA; and forfeiture of at least $199,227.41.

The indictment was announced by Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; John J. McKenna, Special Agent in Charge of the Commerce Department’s Office of Export Enforcement Boston Field Office; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Kathryn Feeney, Resident Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Resident Agency in New Haven, Connecticut; and Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston.

Levick, who is the general manager of ICM Components, remains at large and is believed to be in Australia. If convicted, Levick faces a potential maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy count and 20 years in prison for each count of violating IEEPA.

According to the indictment, beginning as early as March 2007 and continuing through around March 15, 2009, Levick and ICM solicited purchase orders from a representative of a trading company in Iran for U.S.-origin aircraft parts and other goods. This person in Iran, referenced in the charges as “Iranian A,” also operated and controlled companies in Malaysia that acted as intermediaries for the Iranian trading company.

The indictment alleges that Levick and ICM then placed orders with U.S. companies on behalf of Iranian A for aircraft parts and other goods that Iranian A could not have directly purchased from the United States without U.S. government permission. Among the items the defendants allegedly sought to procure from the United States are the following:

  • VG-34 Series Miniature Vertical Gyroscopes. These are aerospace products used to measure precisely and/or maintain control of pitch and roll in applications such as helicopter flight systems, target drones, missiles, torpedoes, and remotely piloted vehicles. They are classified as defense articles by the U.S. government and may not be exported from the United States without a license from the State Department or exported to Iran without a license from the Treasury Department.
  • K2000 Series Servo Actuators designed for use on aircraft. The standard Servo Actuator is designed to be used for throttle, nose wheel steering, and most flight control surfaces. High-torque Servo Actuators are designed to be used for providing higher torque levels for applications such as flaps and landing gear retraction. These items are classified as defense articles by the U.S. government and may not be exported from the United States without a license from the State Department or exported to Iran without a license from the Treasury Department.
  • Precision Pressure Transducers. These are sensor devices that have a wide variety of applications in the avionics industry, among others, and can be used for altitude measurements, laboratory testing, measuring instrumentations, and recording barometric pressure. These items may not be exported to Iran without a license from the Treasury Department.
  • Emergency Floatation System Kits. These kits contained landing gear, float bags, composite cylinder, and a complete electrical installation kit. Such float kits were designed for use on Bell 206 helicopters to assist the helicopter when landing in either water or soft desert terrain. These items may not be exported to Iran without a license from the Treasury Department.
  • Shock Mounted Light Assemblies. These items are packages of lights and mounting equipment designed for high vibration use and which can be used on helicopters and other fixed wing aircraft. These items may not be exported to Iran without a license from the Treasury Department.

According to the charges, Levick and ICM, when necessary, used a broker in Florida to place orders for these goods with U.S. firms to conceal that they were intended for transshipment to Iran. The defendants also concealed the final end-use and end-users of the goods from manufacturers, distributors, shippers, and freight forwarders in the United States and elsewhere, as well as from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. To further conceal their efforts, the defendants structured payments between each other for the goods to avoid restrictions on Iranian financial institutions by other countries.

The indictment further alleges that Levick and ICM wired money to companies located in the United States as payment for these restricted goods. Levick, ICM, and other members of the conspiracy never obtained the required licenses from the Treasury or State Department for the export of any of these goods to Iran, according to the charges.

In addition to the conspiracy allegations, the indictment charges the defendants with exporting or attempting to export four specific shipments of goods from the United States to Iran in violation of IEEPA. These include a shipment of 10 shock mounted light assemblies on Jan. 27, 2007; a shipment of five precision pressure transducers on Dec. 20, 2007; a shipment of 10 shock mounted light assemblies on March 17, 2008; and a shipment of one emergency floatation system kit on June 24, 2008.

This investigation was jointly conducted by agents of the Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement, FBI, DCIS and ICE-HSI. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John W. Borchert and Ann Petalas of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia; and Trial Attorney Jonathan C. Poling of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains mere allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez Indicted for Allegedly Attempting to Assassinate the President of the United States

January 17, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 17, 2012 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was indicted by a federal grand jury today for attempting to assassinate the president of the United States. The indictment stems from the November 11, 2011 shooting near the White House.

The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and David Beach, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the U.S. Secret Service.

The federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a 17-count indictment against Ortega-Hernandez, who has been in custody since his arrest November 16, 2011. In addition to the attempted assassination charge, Ortega-Hernandez was charged with assaulting federal officers with a deadly weapon, injuring property of the United States, and related firearms charges. The grand jury returned criminal charges against Ortega-Hernandez for violating District of Columbia law as well. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the charges carry a possible prison term of life imprisonment.

According to the government’s evidence, on November 11, 2011, at about 9 p.m., the defendant drove his Honda Accord westbound in the 1600 block of Constitution Avenue NW. He stopped the vehicle just past the entrance to the Ellipse, and fired several rounds at the White House. No one was injured. FBI investigators examined the building and located several confirmed bullet impact points on the south side of the building on or above the second story residence area. Several bullets and fragments also were collected in the area near the impact points.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director McJunkin, and Special Agent in Charge Beach expressed their appreciation to all those who diligently investigated this case from the FBI, the Secret Service, and the U.S. Park Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys George P. Varghese and John W. Borchert of the National Security Section of the United States Attorney’s Office.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Man charged in fatal ICE ambush

December 22, 2011

El Paso Times on December 22, 2011 released the following:

“By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times

A man accused of taking part in the Feb. 11 slaying of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent that also left a second ICE agent wounded was charged on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., after Mexico extradited him to the United States.

Julian “Piolin” Zapata Espinoza faces charges for his alleged role in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata of Brownsville, and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila of El Paso.

“The extradition and charges filed against Zapata Espinoza is an important step in bringing Jaime and Victor’s alleged shooters to justice,” ICE Director John Morton said. “All of us at ICE are encouraged by today’s action and appreciate the unwavering work and support of all our law enforcement partners in this case.”

“The indictment unsealed today and the successful extradition of ‘Piolin’ to the United States reflect the Justice Department’s vigorous and determined efforts to seek justice for Agents Zapata and Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners in Mexico to hold violent criminals accountable.”

On April 19, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a four-count indictment against Zapata Espinoza, charging him with one count of murder of an officer or employee of the United States, for the murder of Jaime Zapata; one count of attempted murder of an officer or employee of the United States; and one count of attempted murder of an internationally protected person, both for the attempted murder of Avila; and one count of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.

Zapata Espinoza, who is being held without bond, appeared in U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth’s court and pleaded not guilty. His next appearance in court is scheduled for Jan. 25.

In a statement, the Mexican National Defense Secretariat said Mexican soldiers captured Zapata Espinoza on Feb. 23, along with other alleged members of the Zetas drug cartel.

Military officials said Zapata Espinoza “stated he was in charge of the group of gunmen that shot the U.S. agent, (and that) he said that this event was a mistake because they thought that the people in the (U.S. agents’) vehicle were members of an antagonistic (rival) group.”

U.S. officials said the two U.S. agents were traveling from a meeting in San Luis Potosi to Mexico City the day they were ambushed by a group of armed men.

Zapata, who began his law enforcement career with the Border Patrol, was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

Avila, the ICE agent who was shot twice in the leg, recovered from his wounds.

One of the charges is that Zapata Espinoza participated in the attempted murder of an “internationally protected person,” according to the indictment against him.

“He was apparently a U.S. federal agent that pursuant to international law had special protection,” said Douglas C. McNabb, a lawyer and senior principal with McNabb Associates PC, a global criminal defense firm with a website at www.mcnabbassociates.com.

Sheldon Snook, a deputy court clerk in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., said the U.S. Attorneys Manual defines “internationally protected persons” based on U.S. legislation and United Nations conventions, including the Vienna Convention.

Such persons can include heads of state, diplomats and others that in this case the U.S. State Department has determined holds the status.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Defendant Charged with Alleged Participation in the Murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the Attempted Murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila is Extradited from Mexico to the United States

December 21, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on December 21, 2011 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— Julian Zapata Espinoza, also known as “Piolin,” has been extradited from Mexico to the United States to face charges for his alleged participation in the murder of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila on Feb. 15, 2011, in Mexico.

The charges and extradition were announced today by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. for the District of Columbia; Kevin Perkins, Assistant Director for the FBI Criminal Investigative Division; and ICE Director John Morton.

On April 19, 2011, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a four-count indictment against Zapata Espinoza, charging him with one count of murder of an officer or employee of the United States, for the murder of ICE Special Agent Zapata; one count of attempted murder of an officer or employee of the United States and one count of attempted murder of an internationally protected person, both for the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Avila; and one count of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.

“Julian Zapata Espinoza (“Piolin”) allegedly participated in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “The indictment unsealed today, and the successful extradition of Piolin to the United States, reflect the Justice Department’s vigorous and determined efforts to seek justice for Agents Zapata and Avila. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners in Mexico to hold violent criminals accountable.”

“This prosecution exemplifies our unwavering effort to prosecute those who committed this heinous offense against U.S. law enforcement agents,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “We will not rest until those responsible for the murder of Agent Zapata and the wounding of Agent Avila are brought to justice.”

“The extradition of Julian Zapata Espinoza to face charges in the U.S. is a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the murder of Special Agent Jaime Zapata and attack on Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Kevin Perkins, Assistant Director for the FBI Criminal Investigative Division. “This extradition would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of all involved in this case. The FBI, DHS and the Department of Justice will continue its pursuit of justice for the Zapata family.”

“The extradition and charges filed against Zapata Espinoza is an important step in bringing Jaime and Victor’s alleged shooters to justice,” said ICE Director Morton. “All of us at ICE are encouraged by today’s action and appreciate the unwavering work and support of all our law enforcement partners in this case. Our hearts and prayers continue to go out to Jaime’s family and his close colleagues within the ICE community. ICE will continue to see that Jaime and Victor’s work is done by continuing our efforts with all involved in working on this case.”

The indictment was unsealed today, when Zapata Espinoza made his initial appearance before U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the District of Columbia. Zapata Espinoza was ordered detained without bail. His next appearance in court is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2012.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, with substantial assistance from ICE, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Diplomatic Security Service and the U.S. Marshals Service. The investigation was also coordinated with the assistance of the Government of Mexico.

The case is being prosecuted by the Organized Crime and Gang Section and the Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. The Office of International Affairs of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division provided substantial assistance.

An indictment is a formal charging document and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.