A New Hampshire and New Jersey man have been arrested and charged for their alleged roles in smuggling military equipment to Russia, according to a federal indictment unsealed on Tuesday.
Alexey Brayman, 35, of Merrimack, New Hampshire, and Vadim Yermolenko, 41, of Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, each face up to 30 years in prison for the alleged crimes, according to the 16-count indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which also name five other Russian nationals — Yevgeniy Grinin, Aleksey Ippolitov, Boris Livshits, Svetlana Skvortsova and Vadim Konoshchenok — as defendants.
Attorneys for Brayman and Yermolenko did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NBC News.
The group allegedly “unlawfully sourced, purchased and shipped millions of dollars” worth of electronic components used to develop nuclear and hypersonic weapons and for other military means on behalf of two Moscow-based machinery and equipment companies, Serniya Engineering and Sertal LLC, in violation of multiple federal criminal statutes, the indictment states.
“The Department of Justice and our international partners will not tolerate criminal schemes to bolster the Russian military’s war efforts,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
Yermolenko, a U.S. citizen, allegedly opened bank accounts for shell companies and fraudulently obtained employee identification numbers from the IRS to facilitate purchases of the illicit materials.
Brayman, a lawful permanent resident living in New Hampshire, allegedly shipped the contraband from his Merrimack residence, about 50 miles northwest of Boston, to Germany and Estonia before they were allegedly forwarded to Russia, according to the indictment.
And under the alleged direction of Livshits, one of the Russian nationals, Brayman and Yermolenko allegedly “altered or destroyed shipping documents and other business records, as well as facilitated payments in furtherance of illicit transactions.”
In one instance earlier this year, for example, Livshits allegedly asked Brayman to “take a photo of the contents [of a package] for me … and if there are financial papers there, remove them,” the indictment said.
Approximately a month later, the two allegedly discussed sending items to Russia through Germany “by hook or by crook.”
And in August, Livshits allegedly asked Brayman to forge a signature on an invoice, according to the indictment.
Authorities also arrested Konoshchenok — who federal officials suspect is an officer with Russia’s Federal Security Service — in Estonia on Dec. 6., and he will undergo extradition proceedings to the U.S., according to a news release from the Department of Justice.