A Russian citizen who describes himself as a big-game hunter and gun developer for Kalashnikov, the Russian arms company that manufactures AK-47 assault rifles, faces sentencing Wednesday for attempting to take a restricted rifle scope back to Moscow without a U.S. export license.
Evgeny Spiridonov, 40, was arrested in January at Los Angeles International Airport following a large gun show in Las Vegas. He was attempting to board an Aeroflot flight for Moscow, where he lives, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Spiridonov subsequently pleaded guilty to trying to violate U.S. export controls, a federal charge punishable by up to five years behind bars. Prosecutors have recommended that U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real impose a probationary term.
The case stems from Spiridonov’s visit to the gun show, where he ordered a $2,400 restricted advanced tactical rifle scope from a Pennsylvania gun dealer who turned out to be a cooperating witness. When told that the item required a license to export to Russia, Spiridonov “brushed aside those concerns, told (the witness) he would remove the serial number on the rifle scope, and said that if asked, he would lie and say he obtained it from a pawnshop,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed in Los Angeles federal court.
The dealer informed federal investigators of the sale and a controlled delivery of the scope to Spiridonov’s Las Vegas hotel was staged, documents said.
Following his arrest at LAX, Spiridonov expressed a desire to admit his guilt and resolve the case quickly, papers show. He also furnished evidence that he makes his living primarily as a big-game hunter and consented to a search of various electronic devices seized by authorities during his arrest, prosecutors said.
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