A New Hampshire man and a New Jersey man have been arrested and charged in connection with the smuggling of military equipment to Russia, according to a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.
Alexey Brayman, 35, of Merrimack, New Hampshire, and Vadim Yermolenko, 41, of Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, could face up to 30 years in prison, according to the 16-count indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern New York, which names 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.
The group is alleged to have "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 laws, the indictment says.
“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, is accused of opening bank accounts for shell companies and fraudulently obtaining employee identification numbers from the IRS to facilitate purchases of the illicit materials.
Brayman, a lawful permanent resident living in New Hampshire, is accused of shipping the contraband from his Merrimack residence, about 50 miles northwest of Boston, to Germany and Estonia before they were forwarded to Russia, according to the indictment.
It alleges that under the direction of Livshits, one of the Russian nationals, Brayman and Yermolenko “altered or destroyed shipping documents and other business records, as well as facilitated payments in furtherance of illicit transactions."
In an instance this year, for example, Livshits 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 alleges.
About a month later, the two discussed sending items to Russia through Germany “by hook or by crook,” the indictment says.
And in August, Livshits 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., the Justice Department said in a news release.
Grinin, Ippolitov, Livshits and Skvortsova remain at large, the release says.