Three men have been charged with selling military rifle scopes online.
An undercover investigation based in Connecticut has nabbed three people for selling military-grade weapons accessories online.
Here’s how the feds say this all went down:
Wilfred Bouton, 29, of Oak Harbor, Washington, while serving in the U.S. Navy, used his government purchase card to buy gunsights, including the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights (ACOGs). He then sold 50 of them on E-Bay.
The indictment unsealed on Monday said this scheme apparently went on from September 2007 to June 2009, with Bouton selling the military equipment to Arkradani Viranuvatti, 30 of Sanford, Florida.
Viranuvatti then allegedly sold the gunsights to Carl Williams, 39 of Savannah, Georgia.
“Illegal weapons trafficking endangers the lives of our military servicemen and servicewomen overseas, and this office and our federal law enforcement partners are committed to ensuring that sensitive military technology does not wind up in the wrong hands,” stated U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy.
Keep following along... Authorities say Williams re-sold them to buyers in the United States and overseas.
The scheme was busted when undercover agents in Connecticut made a purchase and had the weapons shipped to the state. Several departments were part of the investigation including the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcements (“ICE”).
The affidavit goes on to say that while these gunsights can be legally purchased in the United States, it is illegal to export them without a license.
Also, the ACOSs sold to the military are packaged differently than those sold into the private market. The equipment that was shipped to buyers arrived in military packaging. The buyers thought they were military surplus.
The buyers did get a deal on the ACOGs. The equipment usually sold for about $900 each but by getting them from “a guy who knows a guy” they paid $500, according to the affidavit.
Wilfred Bouton and Arkradani Viranuvatti have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to traffic in stolen Government property.
Bouton is also charged with one count of trafficking in stolen government property. If convicted, the trio face a maximum term of five years behind bars and a fine of up to $250,000.
Bouton has been discharged from the Navy and is being transported to Connecticut by the United States Marshals Service.
On Monday, Viranuvatti was busted by ICE agents in Florida. He’s out on bond and is scheduled for arraignment in Connecticut on October 14, 2009.
Carl Williams, the man who police say bought the gunsights, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to traffic in stolen government property.
As part of his plea, Williams admitted to purchasing 20 stolen ACOGs and shipping five to an individual in Germany.
He's out on bond and will be sentenced on November 30, 2009.