back to article Trio nailed in US for smuggling $30m of microchips into Russia

Two men and a woman have been found guilty in the US of illegally peddling electronics to Russian military and spies. The trio worked at Arc Electronics in Houston, Texas, which was a front for an operation that moved more than $30m in microchips overseas against Uncle Sam's export and arms laws. Arc masqueraded as a traffic …

  1. Thaumaturge

    Swift Justice...

    Three years ago? Must have been an air tight case to get a conviction that quick.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: Swift Justice...

      Maybe it was airtight. But then the courts are backed up with all the copyright infringement cases, drug-related cases, and assorted class-actions suits for just about everything under the sun. Hell, I got notified this week that I'm getting a settlement in a class-action suit I never heard of, for something I bought from Symantec 10 years ago. The lawsuit was in the works for close to 6 years.

      Icon -----> the devil made me do it and there's no cynic icon.

      1. Turtle

        @Mark 85 Re: Swift Justice...

        "the courts are backed up with all the copyright infringement cases, drug-related cases, and assorted class-actions suits for just about everything under the sun."

        Apparently you are unaware that there are quite a number of different courts in the US. There are local, state, and federal courts, and there are civil and criminal courts of each species. All these courts (except possibly certain local courts) are further divided into various kinds with various remits. Small claims courts, juvenile courts, surrogate courts, appeals courts, trade courts, traffic courts, maritime courts, administrative courts, and many many more.

        Additionally, since the people in the story were in federal criminal court, I'm wondering where you get the idea that their prosecution was delayed because the courts are jammed with criminal copyright infringement cases. How many criminal copyright infringement cases are currently ongoing? Care to enumerate them for us?

        And there are NO federal criminal prosecutions of kids caught smoking marijuana in local parks - whatever drug cases there are would be for large-scale trafficking and similar. What percentage of Federal cases involve such?

        Moreover, class-action suits are civil suits. How that would cause criminal prosecutions such as this one to be delayed is not altogether clear to me. Care to explain this too?

        As for your Symantec class-action lawsuit: how much court time did it actually require? If you got a "settlement" as opposed to an award by a jury, then it probably took very little court resources. Perhaps you think that class-action suits ought to be outlawed - I'm sure every corporation and business in the US would be more than happy to support you in that.

        And, of course, how much of that 3 years was due to the defense asking for continuances, as opposed to the prosecution requesting them, or a court calendar crowded with petty drug crimes and criminal copyright infringement prosecutions, as you seem to think?

        A reasonably typical post from you, though.

  2. kain preacher

    The reason it would take this long is if the defendant waived their rights to a speedy trial. It's a tact that lawyers do use.

  3. Donald Becker

    This would have been a federal criminal case. Which would have been competing for courtroom time with copyright cases (federal), and patent cases (also federal). There isn't a separate court for criminal cases.

    I haven't been able to find the name of the judge in this case, only the prosecutors (who have put out multiple press releases). It's the EDNY in Brooklyn, if anyone wants to check the dockets or PACER.

    1. kain preacher

      Criminal case take precedent over civil.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Posobilov, Abdullaev, Fishenko"

    I wonder if there were any employees of the company with non-Slav names?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fishenko? Was he running a phishing business also?

  5. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Just how hi-tech?

    I really wonder exactly what the parts were they claimed to have exported. I mean, if you are pretending to be a traffic light supplier you could hardly get away with ordering rad-hard parts, stuff tested to MIL-STD-883, etc. So what were they?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just how hi-tech?

      There's a lot of dual-use components which still have to abid to export rules.

      I wonder if they were US citizens, because AFAIK export rules also apply to foreigners living in the US.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: Just how hi-tech?

        Does anyone else think the export rules are a bit silly if the Russian military could raid traffic lights for the hardware they wanted? Although I suppose if they made a cluster of all the traffic lights in Russia they'd have a rather impressive grid computing environment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just how hi-tech?

      There are a lot of potential tests in 883B. Put rad-hardened to one side and just think extended temperature range and vibration resistant, for example.

      Traffic light manufacture, especially transportable/mobile traffic lights, sounds somewhat plausible as a target application.

  6. Quortney Fortensplibe

    Silly Russians!

    Why don't they just buy the parts directly from China?

    That's probably where they're made, anyway.

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: Silly Russians!

      Because then they'll get counterfeits, duh!

  7. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I'm 10-reasons shocked! (With ads for each reason)

    Can't just anyone order just about anything on the internet nowadays?

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: Can't just anyone order just about anything on the internet nowadays?

      As a decent European citizen who has nothing to hide I could not buy a Casio Protrek PAG240T-7 Altimeter Watch from Amazon USA.

      There was a problem with some of the items in your order ... The following types of items can't be shipped to buyers outside the U.S.: video games, toy and baby items, electronics, cameras and photo items, tools and hardware, kitchenware and housewares, sporting goods and outdoor equipment, software, and computers.

  8. Mystic Megabyte

    On the plus side

    Now in Russia if you jump a red light the radar guided laser beams will take you out.

  9. x 7

    the real question is how they were able to get their hands on the components without the manufacturers asking questions.........I would suggest theres been collusion at other levels here as the manufacturers would have known those components were not relevant to traffic lights

  10. Ilsa Loving


    So.... a single Oracle server then?

  11. Yannisorolov

    Police State America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. With a 99 percent conviction rate in it's kangaroo courts these poor individuals did not have a chance and will most likely be tortured in prison.

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