Authorities have arrested six U.S. soldiers for raiding military equipment stores and selling the sensitive equipment online to foreign buyers from Russia and China.
These six soldiers, who made off with more than $1 million of military equipment, were based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and stored the equipment in warehouses around Clarksville, Tenn., CNN reports.
The collection of equipment included sniper telescopes, a sight for an M203 grenade launcher, night vision helmet mounts and more. Soldiers passed off the equipment to two civilians, who in turn sold the items on eBay starting in 2013, advertising them as surplus and “US Government Issued.”
The scheme lasted all the way until 2016.
“These are extraordinarily and inherently dangerous in the wrong hands and outside of the military or police tactical use,” U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee David Rivera said Thursday.
“We never want to allow the illegal and self-serving actions of a few to cast a shadow on the thousands of military heroes who every day place themselves in harm’s way to protect this great nation,” Rivera added.
For the eight involved in this scheme, the consequences are severe. All of them are staring down a possible sentence of up to five years, in addition to a fine of up to $250,000.
Two were charged with wire fraud and money laundering.
eBay issued a statement saying it cooperated with the investigation.
“eBay worked collaboratively with law enforcement agencies, providing them with the information necessary to support their case,” eBay said, according to CNN. “eBay has clear policies on what can and can’t be listed across various categories, and we have dedicated teams that proactively and reactively remove listings that are not permitted to be sold on our marketplace.”
While authorities managed to retrieve some equipment, they were mum on what they hadn’t managed to seize.
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