Two Ogden men are facing criminal charges in federal court because prosecutors say the pair tried to sell parts to foreign buyers for F-14 and F-4 fighter aircraft without possessing a necessary license.
Abraham Trujillo, 61, and David Waye, 22, each are charged with three violations of the Arms Export Control Act. A summons has been issued directing the two men to appear before a federal magistrate judge.
There is no connection between this activity and Hill Air Force Base, according to Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
It is not illegal to possess these types of aircraft parts, but it is illegal to sell them to other countries without a license. Currently, the only country that uses these planes is Iran, Rydalch said.
The case was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
"The illegal export of Department of Defense weapons and technology is one of our top investigative priorities," according to Rick W. Gwin, special agent in charge for DCIS's Western field office.
"America's adversaries are actively trying to acquire sensitive U.S. military technology, which has the potential to do harm to the U.S. war fighter and threaten our national security," Gwin said. "This case should serve as a warning to those who intend to circumvent export laws that the DCIS will aggressively pursue and investigate all allegations."
This investigation started when ICE officials found F-14 parts listed for sale on a Web site run by Trujillo. ICE agents bought cable assemblies and other materials from Trujillo. Prosecutors claim Trujillo and those working with him tried to disguise the items they were selling and tried to send these parts out of the country, but the materials were intercepted by ICE agents before they left the United States.
Anyone who traffics in such materials can sell certain items but must register with the State Department and get a license to export goods.
Violations can carry a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The U.S. freely sold weapons to Iran while it was under the rule of the shah of Iran during the 1960s and 1970s. But after the shah's government was overthrown, the U.S. placed an embargo on trade with that country. However, there is a black market that provides Iran with parts to maintain weapons systems.