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Russian citizen charged with illegally exporting rifle parts in US

An M4A1 rifle. (MaxPixel/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A 58-year-old Russian citizen has been charged in the United States with illegally exporting gun parts to Russia and faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York identified the suspect as Vladimir Kuznetsov, a U.S. Green Card holder, who has lived in the United States since 2011.

“Kuznetsov is alleged to have illegally exported firearm parts to Russia, including parts to assemble rifles, by methodically mislabeling the packages and concealing the parts,” the press-release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office said on August 6.

Police arrested Kuznetsov in Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, on August 6 and took him to Brooklyn, New York, where U.S. Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara charged him with illegally exporting, attempting to export, and conspiring to export firearm parts and accessories.

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According to the criminal complaint filed by investigators against Kuznetsov, in May 2017, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a package he allegedly sent through the U.S. Postal Service to Russia from New York, which contained gun accessories — but the contents of the package were described as “reloading tools, hand tools, sporting goods, and cleaning tools.”

Less than a year later, in April 2018, border security at John F. Kennedy International Airport discovered more firearm parts in another parcel sent by Kuznetsov, the investigators say.

“The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Kuznetsov faces a statutory maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.