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Thai national going to prison for firearms violations

Greenbelt, MD – Thai national Apichart Srivaranon, 34 years old, was sentenced to 26 months in federal prison for a conspiracy to export arms and munitions, and for unlawfully exporting arms and munitions, specifically for exporting firearms parts from the United States to Thailand.  U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel imposed the sentence on April 11 and also ordered Srivaranon to forfeit $10,000.  Today, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton for the District of Columbia sentenced Srivaranon to the same sentence for conspiracy to defraud the United States and to export defense articles from the United States to Thailand.  The sentences will be served concurrently.  Upon his release from prison, Srivaranon will be deported from the United States and returned to Thailand.

The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; United States Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore.

Srivaranon pleaded guilty to charges in both Maryland and the District of Columbia in January and March 2019, respectively, as required by his plea agreement in each District.

Srivaranon admitted that between 2012 and 2014, he conspired with individuals in the United States and Thailand to obtain firearms parts in the United States that were listed on the United States Munitions List (USML) and then exported, and attempted to export, the firearm parts to Thailand without having first obtained the required license or written authorization from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, an office in the United States Department of State.

As detailed in his plea agreements, during the conspiracy, Srivaranon and his co-conspirators ordered firearms parts on the USML from U.S.-based firearms parts retailers and caused those firearms parts to ship to addresses in the United States where co-conspirators lived, visited, or conducted business. At the direction of Srivaranon and others, co-conspirators would then repackage the USML firearms parts in the United States; falsely label United States Postal Services (“USPS”) Form 2976 and Customs Declarations CN 22 (sender’s declarations forms) by using fake names for return addresses; falsely declare the contents of the packages and understate their value; and then ship the USML firearms parts to Thailand via the USPS and private shipping companies. This was done to conceal the prohibited exports from detection by the U.S. government.

In his guilty plea to the District of Columbia charges, Srivaranon admitted that to facilitate the scheme, he and others deposited funds into co-conspirators’ bank accounts in Thailand.  The funds were deposited in Thai Baht currency.  The co-conspirators would then withdraw U.S. dollars from automatic teller machines (ATMs) in the United States, as payment for their participation in the scheme.

Srivaranon was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 22, 2018, after flying there from Thailand to attend a trade show unrelated to the charges in the case.  He has been in custody since his arrest.

United States Attorneys Robert K. Hur and Jessie K. Liu commended HSI Baltimore for its work in this investigation. They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly Hayes and Bryan Foreman, who handled the prosecution in the District of Maryland, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick Yette and Trial Attorney Rebecca A. Caruso of the Money Laundering & Asset Recovery Section (formerly a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney with the District of Columbia), who handled the case in the District of Columbia.

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