Russian pleads guilty to military export plot in Delaware

 US soldiers are seen  through a night vision scope in Iraq. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

US soldiers are seen through a night vision scope in Iraq. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

A Russian man accused of trying to illegally export military technology out of the United States pled guilty to the charges in federal court in Wilmington.

Federal prosecutors said Dmitry Ustinov of Moscow worked with a Virginia supplier to purchase and export night vision equipment from the United States to Russia. The equipment includes high-tech military gear like night vision scopes, thermal imaging scopes, infrared cameras and other targeting devices.

Because the night vision gear is listed on the United States Munitions List as “defense articles,” they are prohibited from being exported outside of the country under the Arms Export Control Act.

“The export of these items is a serious federal crime that could jeopardize the safety and well-being of the United States’ service members or our allies,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware Charles Oberly said. “Individuals engaging in this activity can and will be prosecuted even if we have to reach across the ocean to make the arrest.”

Ustinov was arrested in Lithuania last April at the request of the U.S. government and extradited back to Delaware in August 2013.

After his guilty plea to the charge of conspiring to export military technology, Ustinov faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for October 2.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal