Berkeley Woman Among 6 Jailed In Alleged Firearm Parts Exporting Scheme
BERKELEY (CBS SF) – A Berkeley resident was one of six people indicted for illegally exporting restricted firearm parts from the U.S. to Thailand, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Supanee Saenguthai, 35, a Thai citizen residing in Berkeley, is one of six people who were arrested over the weekend for conspiring and then attempting to violate the Arms Control Export Act, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to the indictment, the six defendants conspired between 2011 and this year to export restricted firearms parts to Thailand from the U.S.
The indictment alleges that the co-conspirators did not obtain the appropriate licenses to make the shipments and used false names and invoices to avoid detection, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said the various firearms were packed in specific ways designed to avoid detection by X-ray scanners.
Shipments of firearms parts made by the co-conspirators allegedly mislabeled the contents of packages. For instance, containers labeled “vented steel case for electronic components” contained magazines for .45 caliber handguns, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Other gun parts were falsely labeled as “hobby parts” and “glow in the dark marker sets,” prosecutors said.
The group of six defendants is believed to have made more than 240 shipments of restricted firearms components.
In addition to the arrest and indictment of Saenguthai, five additional defendants were also indicted: Nares Lekhakul, 36, a resident of Bellevue, Wash.; his brother Naris Lekhakul, 42, a Thai citizen arrested in SeaTac, Wash.; Witt Sittikornwanish, 24, a resident of the Los Angeles area;
Wimol Brumme, 41, a Thai citizen residing in Las Vegas, and Sansit Mowanna, 35, a resident of the Los Angeles area, prosecutors said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations division is further investigating the case with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)