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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Four Charged with Shipping Defense Articles to Venezuela


Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Xanthie C. Mangum, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today that Alberto Pichardo, 40, of Weston, Florida, Freddy Arguelles, 37, of Pembroke Pines, Florida; Victor Brown, 55, of Hialeah, Florida; and Kirk Drellich, 49, of Davie, Florida, were charged for their involvement in violations of the Arms Export Control Act. The intended destination of the defense articles was the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Three of the defendants, Alberto Pichardo, Freddy Arguelles, and Victor Brown, are expected to make their initial appearances in federal court before Magistrate Judge Otazo-Reyes on June 26, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. The fourth defendant, Kirk Drellich, is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court on July 3, 2012 at 1:30 p.m.

According to the informations filed, Alberto Pichardo was charged with engaging in two separate conspiracies to violate the Arms Export Control Act and two additional counts of having violated the Arms Export Control Act. If convicted, Alberto Pichardo faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine up to $250,000 on each conspiracy count; and 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $1,000,000 for each violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

Victor Brown was charged with engaging in a conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act and 18 additional counts of having violated the Arms Export Control Act. If convicted, Victor Brown faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the conspiracy count; and 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $1,000,000 for each violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

Kirk Drellich was charged with engaging in a conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act. If convicted, Kirk Drellich faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine up to $250,000.

Freddy Arguelles was charged with engaging in a conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act. If convicted, Freddy Arguelles faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine up to $250,000.

U.S. Attorney Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the agents of the FBI for their hard work in this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Thomas J. Mulvihill.

An information is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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