SAN DIEGO, CA- Two California brothers have been indicted for violating arms export laws to the benefit of China, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Joe Sery, 77, who used to run a San Diego-based company that manufactures tungsten components for the United States military, along with his brother Dror, 70, have been indicted on charges related to a conspiracy to export sensitive information about defense systems to both China and India without a license.
Joe Sery used to own and run the company, Tungsten Heavy Powder & Parts and was arrested Friday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Meanwhile Dror Sery remains a fugitive, the office said.
“The company specializes in providing fragments and weapon-grade components made of tungsten, a rare metal, for the military,” the Union Tribune said.
The indictment alleges that between 2016 to 2019, Joe Sery had contracted with a number of aerospace and defense firms for military projects, among them construction of an Advanced Rapid Response Weapon, a 155mm Bi-Modal Warhead, a R9E Warhead and an 81mm Cowling Cone.
In order to fulfill those orders, Sery’s company obtained both technical data as well as drawings that are authorized by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and contained information including everything from design and production to the repair and testing of the weapons.
The regulations are designed to control the export of defense technology and weaponry to secure national security.
The indictment says the Sery brothers “knowingly and willfully” exported drawings covered by the U.S. Munitions List to China, India and elsewhere.
The Munitions List is a set of defense services and items that are subject to arms export regulations, and any such release must seek permission from the U.S. State Department in order to secure such release.
The two brothers sought to secretly receive the documents via a non-company email and also accessed them via a shared drive, the indictment reads. The files were exported out of the U.S. via email, including to Dror Sery while he was in China and India.
Officials said that an arrest warrant has been issued for Dror Sery, a dual citizen of South Africa and Israel, where he is believed to be currently living.
Authorities say the company, Tungsten Heavy Powder & Parts, is cooperating with the federal probe.
The Epoch Times reports the company’s official website touted the fact that five of America’s top defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics, were among its customers.
The company also boasted of being involved with a Pentagon project to build the rocket-boosted air-launched rapid response weapon missile, a hypersonic weapon that would help the United States maintain an edge over China and Russia.
The company is facing a lawsuit from a former employee who alleges that Dror Sery once sent an email requesting a customer’s intellectual property be sent to a Chinese company that makes balancing machines, according to court filings.
In that filing, the employee accused the company of sending technical drawings to Chinese suppliers after removing or blocking out markings identifying them as export-controlled, the Times said.
The indictment read, “…these brothers disregarded important regulations designed to keep sensitive information from falling into the hands of those who would harm America,” according to U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman.
According to Chad Plantz, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations San Diego, the investigative agencies are committed to ensuring “protected military technology and weaponry are not used by foreign actors against our warfighters and allies on the battlefield.”
“This arrest sends a clear message that those entrusted with our country’s military technology and weaponry will be held responsible for its safeguarding,” he said.
Last year, Tungsten Heavy Powder, Inc., agreed to pay $5.6 million to resolve allegations that it falsely certified that it sourced materials in the United States for items it manufactured for the government of Israel, with that contract being funded by the U.S.