Heat, Don’t Leave Home Without It
Posted by Clif Burns at 10:07 pm on April 27, 2015
Category: Arms Export • Customs • DDTC
Customs and Border Protection has decided that it needs to make it easier for you to travel abroad with a gun, at least assuming that you aren’t planning to use it to create any harm or to give it to a nefarious overseas organization. So they have announced that they will help travelers with firearms fill out CBP Form 4457 “to ensure that no traveler attempting to legally take their firearm out of the country experiences significant delays.” Form 4457 is a registration of exported goods designed to permit them to be returned to the United States without payment of duties or complying other regulatory requirements.
And CBP is so concerned about the difficulties of packing heat in your luggage that they’ve even taken a swipe at the Automated Export System and the State Department requirement for filing an EEI through AES before taking lugging a Lugar abroad.
Additionally, CBP is working with our other government partners to modify the AES system and the reporting process to make a more user-friendly experience for individual travelers.
I certainly agree that the AES should be made more user-friendly; I’m just not so sure that it needs to be made more friendly just for people traveling with their weapons.
Texas Judge Indicted For Illegal Firearm Exports
Posted by Clif Burns at 10:38 pm on April 21, 2015
Category: Arms Export • Criminal Penalties • DDTC
ABOVE: Judge Tim Wright
Well, it is probably safe to say that not many (if any) judges have been indicted on allegations of illegally exporting firearms. But that’s what happened to Judge Tim Wright, a judge in Williamson County, Texas, who was charged with various firearm charges, including illegal exports of firearms. There are few details in the indictment beyond alleging that Judge Williams, which the indictment rather oddly insists on calling “Timothy L. Wright, III, aka ‘The Judge,’” sold guns to a person without an export license knowing that the guns were intended for export.
This is a strangely odd locution: it alleges that Judge Wright knew that the guns were for export but does not allege that the Judge knew that the purchaser did not have an export license or that the Judge knew that his sale or the export were illegal. This probably explains why Judge Wright was charged under the Anti-Smuggling Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 554, and not under the Arms Export Control Act, 22 U.S.C. § 2278. There is well-established precedent under the Arms Export Control Act that a conviction can only be had if the defendant knew that his export was in violation of law. On the other hand, it appears hat prosecutors believe, as I have said previously, that they can establish a criminal violation of 18 U.S.C. § 554 simply by proving the defendant knew that the item was to be exported without any requirement that they prove he knew that the export was illegal.
Whether a court will send someone to jail on such a flimsy showing of criminal intent remains to be seen.
Brotherly Love Only Goes So Far
Posted by Clif Burns at 1:15 pm on March 30, 2015
Category: Arms Export • Criminal Penalties
I’ll admit it and apologize in advance. The main reason for this story and for this link to Britain’s worst newspaper is so that I can run the picture of Ariel Maralit. Ariel, the guy in the photo on the right brandishing the weapons and wearing the moronic grin, is the brother of former NYPD officer Rex Maralit and former U.S. customs agent Wilfredo Maralit. Both former law enforcement brothers have now pleaded guilty to violations of the Arms Export Control Act in connection with a little business they ran with brother Ariel in the Philippines. Seems Ariel would take orders from customers in the Philippines for AR-15s, semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles and would then send these orders on to brothers Rex and Wilfredo in the United States. The brothers would use their law enforcement discounts to buy the weapons cheaply and then pack them up and ship them to Ariel for a tidy profit. Rex is quoted as saying he just thought he was “avoiding red tape.” Wilfredo’s lawyer said he was just in it for the money.
And now for the best part. Rex and Wilfredo
were told they would receive a lighter sentence if they could convince their brother Ariel to come to the United States and face charges, but the brothers were unsuccessful.
Allegedly Ariel replied to his brothers’ pleas to give himself up by sending them a recording of “Baretta’s Theme.” You remember: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” Okay, I made up this last part about sending the song, but once you start linking to the Daily Mail, it’s hard not to follow their example.
Maryland Pizza Shop Owner Pleads to Export Charges
Posted by Clif Burns at 11:06 pm on March 10, 2015
Category: Arms Export • Criminal Penalties • DDTC
The owner of a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza franchise in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, pleaded guilty to shipping various rifles and rifle parts, including magazines, receivers, and sights, to Pakistan without the required license from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. According to the DOJ press release announcing the plea deal, Kamran Malik, the defendant, shipped the goods in packages with false return addresses and false descriptions of the contents. There is no indication as to the intended recipients of the firearms and parts in Pakistan. As part of the plea deal, the Government has agreed to argue for a reduction in the offense level from 26 to 23, which would reduce the maximum penalty from 78 to 57 months.
Something else is going on here. There is also a sealed plea agreement supplement. That normally means that the defendant will be a cooperating witness and that the sealed supplement contains a cooperation agreement. The purpose of sealing that information is to protect the cooperating defendant. Of course, since such supplements pretty much signal that the defendant is going to cooperate with the government, that purpose is largely lost. I suspect this means that the recipients of the items in Pakistan are of more than passing interest to the United States Government.
Slow Boat From China: Keep Cuba in Arms Evermore
Posted by Clif Burns at 5:23 pm on March 9, 2015
Category: Arms Export • China • Cuba Sanctions
Colombia recently detained the Chinese vessel Da Dan Xia after it entered the port of Cartagena to unload part of its cargo. Based on an anonymous tip, Colombian officials searched the boat and found a boatload, so to speak, of weapons: 100 tons of gunpowder, just under three million detonators, 99 projectiles and approximately 3,000 cannon shells. All destined for Cuba. The ship’s documentation listed none of these goodies correctly, instead calling them spare parts and chemicals, and so the captain of the ship was hauled off the boat and arrested.
The Cubans aren’t saying anything and the Chinese are saying stupid things.
China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the ship had been involved in “normal trade co-operation”. Hua Chunying said the ship was carrying ordinary military supplies to Cuba and was not in violation of any international obligations.
Of course, this does not explain why the items were not accurately described. But I can tell you the likely reason for that: Colombia is a signatory to the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Material. That means that a transit permit would have been required for the ship to enter a Colombian port loaded up with this cargo. And, guess what? China did not want to bother getting a transit permit, largely, I suppose, because it did not want the United States, or anyone else, to know that it was selling this stuff to Cuba.