“This office will continue to aggressively prosecute those individuals who threaten the safety of our nation’s soldiers.”
The federal government arrested Dan Tran Dang, 62, of Santa Ana, and Liem Duc Huynh, 49, now residing in Broken Arrow, Okla.; George Ngoc Bui, 49, believed to be in Vietnam, is still at large.
Professional Security listed a local home owned by Huynh’s brother as its business address, prosecutors said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the U.S. Department of Commerce conducted an undercover probe beginning in 2004, after receiving a tip from Win-Tron Electronics.
The East Coast electronics distributor said the defendants had contacted them about purchasing night vision goggles, the indictment read.
Although the defendants vehemently said the products would not go to Vietnam, the investigation showed 55 sets or more were sent there between early 2004 and early 2005, either through a freight company or while being concealed by various people in suitcases.
The goggles, manufactured by ITT Industries to Vietnam, are classified as a “defense article” on the United States Munitions List.
In order to export them, companies must receive written permission from the U.S. Department of State.
“One of ICE’s top enforcement priorities is preventing U.S. military products and sensitive technology from falling into the hands of those who might seek to harm America or its interests,” said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Los Angeles.
“The night vision goggles identified in this case give the United States military a tactical advantage by illuminating the battlefield and enabling U.S. forces to operate 24/7,” said Peter Hughes, special agent in charge for the Southwest Field Office of NCIS.
The defendants face up to 45 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
CANDICE BAKER can be reached at (714) 966-4631 or at email@example.com.