Eight people, seven of which are from Brooklyn, were arrested for their alleged involvement in an illegal international electronics smuggling scheme.
Brooklyn residents Akmal Asadov, 38, Anton Perevoznikov, 34, Shohruh Saidov, 31, Marat Shadkhin, 40, Kirill Sokhonchuk, 37, and Zokir Iskanderov, 30, as well as Russian native Sayuz Daibagya, 46, were arrested on Oct. 19 and will be arraigned this afternoon via teleconference before United States Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon. Brooklyn resident Azamat Bobomurodov, 31, was arrested in the Northern District of Illinois and will be arraigned in that district later on Monday. Two additional defendants are fugitives. All 10 defendants are charged with transportation of stolen property, failure to file export information, illegal exportation of electronic devices and conspiracy to commit these offenses.
“As alleged, the defendants were members of an international smuggling ring that used a network of operators here and in Russia to circumvent U.S. export laws and regulations,” stated Acting United States Attorney Seth DuCharme. “With today’s arrests, the network has been disabled thanks to the outstanding work of the Eastern District of New York prosecutors who worked tirelessly alongside our agency partners to closely scrutinize the goods and individuals that transit our international borders.”
According to charges, the defendants allegedly engaged in a scheme to export over $50 million worth of electronic devices, including Apple iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches, from the United States to Russia. The group allegedly used airline passengers, many of whom were former and current employees of Aeroflot Airlines, to carry out the scheme.
After receiving instructions from Daibagya, the Aeroflot Airlines crew members and other smugglers allegedly traveled to the United States to pick up the electronics, which were allegedly obtained by Asadov, Sokhonchuk, Perevoznikov and Shadkhin and were said to be stolen. The electronics would then be brought to Russia without the required export authorizations.
Charges say that occasionally Daibagya and Saidov allegedly smuggled the devices themselves. Between August and December 2019, Daibagya allegedly took four trips from the United States bringing over 1,000 Apple products, valued at over $1 million, to Russia, and on Oct. 5, 2019, Saidov allegedly carried nine suitcases containing 235 Apple products with an estimated value of about $250,000.
Search warrants executed during the arrest allegedly uncovered $600,000 in cash, including some cash hidden in the crawl space of Shadkhin’s residence, and large amounts of electronic devices. As a result of the investigation, the Department of State revoked 113 visas of Aeroflot Airlines for their participation in the scheme.