FBI arrests man wanted in Florida for arms violations conspiracy

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested on Saipan last Saturday a 72-year-old Russian national who had been indicted in Florida in 2017 for alleged involvement in a conspiracy to illegally ship military items to Russia.

Dmitrii Makarenko was served with an arrest warrant on Saturday at 3am. No other details were available as of yesterday as to why the defendant is on Saipan.

Last Monday, Makarenko appeared in the U.S. District Court for the NMI for his initial court appearance, accompanied by private counsel Tiberius Mocanu and an interpreter.

According to records filed with the U.S. District Court for the NMI, a grand jury sitting in the Southern District of Florida returned an indictment against Makarenko, also known as Dmitryi, on June 15, 2017, charging him with one count of conspiracy to export defense articles without a license, and two counts of money laundering.

Based on the indictment, on that same day of June 15, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued a warrant for his arrest.

Assistant U.S. attorney Garth R. Backe asked the court for an order o transfer Makarenko to Florida.

Mocanu said Makarenko speaks relatively good English but the interpreter is there if things get confusing and that he does not oppose being transferred to Florida.

Mocanu had no objection to the government’s motion for temporary detention and stated that his client would be waiving an identify hearing.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona stated that, for purposes of identification, the defendant before the court is, in fact, Makarenko.

Mocanu, however, asked that Makarenko’s spouse be allowed to visit him at the Department of Corrections. Manglona stated any access between Makarenko and his family would be up to U.S. Marshal and DOC policies.

After the hearing, Makarenko was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal to be transferred to Florida.

According to the indictment, the export of defense-related articles was regulated by the Arms Export Control Act. The Act authorized the U.S. president to control the import and export of defense articles.

The Act provided that any person engaged in the business of exporting any defense articles shall register with the U.S. Department of State.

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations contains a list of defense articles and defense services that are subject to control. The list is called the U.S. Munitions List.

According to the indictment, no defense articles or defense services may be exported or otherwise transferred from the U.S. to a foreign country without a license or written approval from the U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. The ITAR also prohibits attempted exports, re-exports, transfers, trade-shipments, and diversion from foreign countries of previously exported defense articles or services without State Department authorization.

The indictment said generation 4 ATN MARS night-vision rifle scopes, ATN Odin 61BW IX (30 Hz) thermal multi-purpose monoculars (ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular), and Sellier & Bellot firearm ammunition primers are defense articles covered by the USML.

Makarenko is being accused of attempting to export military-grade night vision and thermal vision devices, and ammunition primers to Russia.

Makarenko’s co-defendant, Vladimir Nevidomy, had already pleaded guilty in Florida and was sentenced to 26 months in prison last June.

According to the indictment, Nevidomy was a resident of Hallandale Beach, Florida, who was the owner, registered agent and principal of Primex Group Inc., a Florida corporation located in Sunny Isles Beach in Florida.

Makarenko, also known as Dmitryi, was a Russian national who resided in Vladivostok, Russia.

Beginning April 2013 and continuing through in or around November 2013, in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, in the Southern District of Florida, and elsewhere, the defendants, conspired to export defense articles from the U.S. to Russia, without having first obtained a license or written approval from the State Department DDTC.

It was the purpose of the conspiracy for the defendants to unjustly enrich themselves by exporting defense articles from the U.S. to Russia and to evade the prohibitions and licensing requirements of the AECA and ITAR and detection by the U.S. government.

The co-conspirators would use email to communicate between Russia and the United States.

Makarenko would place an order for defense articles including night-vision rifle scopes, monoculars, and ammunition primers from Nevidomy.

Nevidomy would procure the defense articles from U.S. vendors and receive the defense articles in Broward County, Florida.

Nevidomy would then allegedly ship the defense articles from the U.S. to Makarenko in Russia without obtaining the required licenses from the State Department’s DDTC.

On April 12, 2013, Makarenko sent an email to Nevidomy requesting the purchase of two 4TN MARS 4X4 night-vision rifle scopes and explaining that a U.S. vendor had refused to sell the scopes to Makarenko because they are “restricted from shipping to” Makarenko’s location in Russia.

On April 16, 2013, Nevidomy sent an email to Makarenko quoting the price and shipping cost at $11,755 for the export of 2 ATN MARS 4X4 night-vision rifle scopes.

On that same day, Makarenko wire transferred from a bank account in Shanghai, China, to the bank account of Nevidomy’s company, Primex Group Inc. in the U.S., $11,755 for the purchase and shipping of the night-vision rifle scopes.

Nevidomy then paid a U.S. vendor in Texas $9,599 for the two night-vision rifle scopes.

In June 2013, Nevidomy exported two night-vision rifle scopes from the U.S. to Makarenko in Russia.

On April 17, 2013, Makarenko sent an email to Nevidomy requesting the purchase of thermal multi-purpose monocular.

On April 29, 2013, Nevidomy sent an email message to a U.S. vendor in Antioch, California, requesting the purchase of one ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular.

On May 2, 2013, Nevidomy wire transferred $10,000 from the bank account of Primex Group Inc. in the U.S. to the bank account of the California vendor for the purchase of one ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular.

On June 12, 2013, Nevidomy sent an email message to Makarenko explaining that the ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular would be delivered within the week but because a private Russian courier office was being audited the courier office recommended “not to ship the night vision scopes at this time, in order to avoid problems.”

In August 2013, Nevidomy exported the ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular from the U.S. to Makarenko in Russia.

On June 3, 2013, Nevidomy sent an email message to a U.S. vendor in Arkansas requesting a quote for the purchase of a MARS 4×4 night-vision rifle scope.

On June 3, 2013, Makarenko sent an email to Nevidomy stating that he did not need the mounting for the night-vision scope.

On June 4, 2013, Nevidomy wire transferred $2,500 from the bank account of Primex Group Inc. in the U.S. to the bank account of the vendor in Arkansas, part of which was for the purchase of the MARS 4×4 night-vision rifle scope.

On June 5, 2013, Makarenko wire transferred $18,036 from a bank account in Riga, Latvia, to the bank account of Nevidomy’s company, Primex Group Inc., in Florida, part of which was for the purchase of the MARS 4×4 night-vision rifle scope.

In July 2013, Nevidomy exported a MARS 4×4 night vision-rifle scope to Russia.

On July 19, 2013, Makarenko sent an email to Nevidomy requesting the purchase of 1,000 large rifle ammunition primers to be placed in a container in Miami, Florida, for shipment to Vladivostok, Russia.

On Aug. 30, 2013, Makarenko forwarded an email message to Nevidomy describing the ammunition primers being requested.

On Sept. 1, 2013, Nevidomy ordered 1,000 ammunition primers from the Arkansas vendor.

On Oct. 2, 2013, Nevidomy attempted to ship a parcel from Hallandale Beach, Florida, to Makarenko in Vladivostok, Russia, containing 1,000 Sellier & Bellot firearm ammunition primers.

On Nov. 20, 2013, after Makarenko received a letter from U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicating that the primers had been seized for attempted illegal export without a license, Makarenko sent an email message to Nevidomy asking, “What are we going to do?”

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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