- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2016

Soldiers from the Fort Campbell U.S. Army base have been charged with conspiracy to steal and sell $1 million worth of sensitive military equipment — ranging from body armor to sniper telescopes.

Equipment taken from the Kentucky base was put up for auction on eBay, where items listed for hundreds of dollars were often sold to foreign buyers in countries including China and Russia, according to prosecutors who announced the federal indictments Thursday.

The indictment identifies the soldiers who stole the equipment as U.S. Army Sgts. Michael Barlow and Jonathan Wolford of Clarksville, Tennessee; and U.S. Army Spcs. Kyle Heade, Alexander Hollibaugh, Dustin Nelson and Aaron Warner, of Fort Campbell. The two other men arrested in connection with the conspiracy, John Roberts and Cory Wilson of Clarksville, listed and sold the items on eBay, according to the indictment.

The items stolen and sold between 2013 and 2016 included sniper telescopes and rifle accessories, machine gun parts and accessories, grenade launcher sights, flight helmets, communication headsets, body armor and medical supplies, the indictment states. Under Defense Department classifications, some of the equipment was supposed to be destroyed by the military so that it could not be repaired or reused.

But instead of being destroyed, many of the items were listed on eBay as “Army Special Forces” or “U.S. Government Issued” and sold to buyers around the world, according to the announcement made Thursday by David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Through the sales, restricted Army equipment such as night vision helmet mounts was sent to buyers in Russia, China, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Lithuania, Moldova, Malaysia, Romania and Mexico. Items were also sold domestically to buyers within the United States.

At various points in time with eBay officials cracked down on the sales, suspending accounts because they listed items not allowed to be sold through the online auction site, the men moved to new accounts or changed the wording used in their listings so they could continue selling the items, the indictment states.

Each of the men are charged with one count of conspiracy. Mr. Roberts is also charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of violating the Arms Export Control Act. Mr. Wilson is charged with seven counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of violating the Arms Export Control Act. Sgt. Barlow is charged with three counts of selling U.S. Army property without authority.

They each face at least five years in prison for the conspiracy charges, with additional time possible for those charged with additional crimes.

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