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Five People, Including Russian National, Charged With Violation Of U.S. Arms Export Control Act

According to the U.S. Justice Department, the defendants purchased dozens of thermal imaging scopes and night-vision goggles for illegal export to Russia. (file photo)

The U.S. Justice Department has charged five individuals, including a Russian citizen, with conspiring to illegally export defense articles to Russia in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

In its June 21 statement, the department said that Elena Shifrin, 59, of Mundelein, Illinois, and Vladimir Pridacha, 55, of Volo, Illinois, were arrested last week for their roles in a nearly four-year scheme in which the defendants purchased dozens of thermal imaging scopes and night-vision goggles, most of which cost between $5,000 and $10,000 and are controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, from sellers across the United States.

"The other three defendants named in the indictment are: Boris Polosin, 45, of Russia; Vladimir Gohman, 52, of Israel; and Igor Panchernikov, 39, an Israeli national who, during much of the scheme, resided in Corona, California," the statement says.

The five, who did not have export licenses, are suspected of obtaining many of the items in question using aliases, mailing the items to co-conspirators in Russia along with non-export-control items, using aliases and false addresses to conceal their activities.

According to the statement, the suspects also falsely stated on export declarations that the contents of their exports were non-export-controlled items with values of less than $2,500.

The suspects face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.

The indictment also accuses the five suspects of conspiring to smuggle thermal imaging devices from the United States and file false export information to conceal their activities, which carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison.

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