A federal grand jury indictment released today charges Joe Sery, the former owner and chief executive officer of Tungsten Heavy Powder & Parts, and his brother, Dror Sery, with violating federal export restrictions in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (ITAR).
Incorporated in San Diego, Tungsten Heavy Powder & Parts (THPP) is a corporation that supplies tungsten fragments, sub-assemblements, and other weapon-grade components to the United States military on a contract-by-contract basis.
It is alleged in the indictment that, between January 1, 2016, and December 12, 2019, Joe Sery negotiated into contracts with several aerospace and defense businesses on behalf of the Texas High-Performance Partnership. As a result, Joe Sery was able to get ITAR-controlled technical data and drawings from these firms, which allowed THPP to complete the contract order. Projects undertaken by THPP included the development of an Advanced Rapid Response Weapon, a bimodal warhead in the 155 millimeter range, a R9E warhead, and an 81-millimeter Cowling Cone, among others. It was in these drawings that information was contained that was required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance, or modification of defense articles. These drawings also contained information that was required for the development of defense articles.
In spite of having received education and training on the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Joe Sery and his brother Dror Sery – a foreign national and dual citizen of Israel and South Africa – knowingly and willfully exported defense articles covered by the United States Munitions List from the United States to the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, and other countries around the world without first obtaining permission from the United States Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade (DDT).
It is also alleged in the indictment that Joe Sery and Dror Sery did this in part by creating an email address that was not associated with the THPP in order to receive ITAR-controlled materials in a covert manner. Joe Sery also granted Dror Sery administrative access to THPP’s “ShareFile system,” which housed ITAR-controlled material, shortly after Dror established the outside email address. Following that, Joe Sery and Dror Sery exported technical drawings from the United States to each other via email communications on a number of times, including while Dror was in India and the People’s Republic of China, and while Joe was in the United States.
Joe Sery is due to be arraigned in federal court on Monday; an arrest warrant has been issued for Dror Sery, who has been on the run since being apprehended. He is considered to be a resident of Israel at this time.
The THPP has agreed to cooperate with the inquiry.
“The indictment alleges that these brothers disregarded important regulations designed to keep sensitive information from falling into the hands of those who would harm America,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will work together with our law enforcement partners to protect military technology.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team, HSI and DCIS for their excellent work on this case.
“This arrest highlights the outstanding partnerships between HSI and the Department of Defense’s investigative agencies who work tirelessly every day to ensure our protected military technology and weaponry are not used by foreign actors against our warfighters and allies on the battlefield,” said HSI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Chad Plantz. “This arrest sends a clear message that those entrusted with our country’s military technology and weaponry will be held responsible for its safeguarding.”
“Mr. Sery is accused of compromising sensitive defense technology, and today’s arrest is an important step toward protecting our country’s information,” said Bryan D. Denny, Special Agent in Charge for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Western Field Office. “DCIS will always take aggressive action with our law enforcement partners to deter and investigate any such threats to our national defense.”
CASE NUMBER 21CR2898-GPC FOR THE DEFENDANTS
Joe Sery 77 years of age San Diego, California
Dror Sery Age: 70 Israel/Unknown
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Conspiracy to Commit Offenses Against the United States- Title 18 U.S.C., Sections 371,554; Title 22 U.S.C., 2778(b)(2), (c); Title 22 CFR Sections, 120, 121.1 , 123.1, 127.l(a)(4)
Exportation of Defense Articles Without a License and Aiding and Abetting To Do Same
Title 22 U.S.C., Sections 2778(b)(2), (c); Title 22 CFR 120, 121.1, 123, 127; Title 18 U.S.C., 2
Criminal Forfeiture – Title 18 U.S.C., Sections 98l(a)(l)(c); Title 28 Section 246l(c); Title 22 U.S.C., 401
a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and a $1 million fine is possible
Investigations by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States
Defense Criminal Investigative Services of the United States
Criminal Investigation Division of the United States Army
Department of Justice’s National Security Division is responsible for national security.