Arms dealer: Military hardware meant for hunting

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Associated Press

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 12 at 12:07 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Belarus man admits he bought $700,000 worth of rifle scopes, night-vision goggles and other military hardware from a Philadelphia-based export ring — but his lawyer says he sold them to hunters, not terrorists.

The sentencing of Siarhei "Sergey" Baltutski began this month in Philadelphia. It's on hold till Oct. 15 while the defense prepares its case.

The Justice Department says Baltutski led teams of arms dealers based in Philadelphia, Chicago and Florida. Some items were shipped in diplomatic pouches.

Prosecutors say the ring exported the same types of scopes, goggles and military hardware that have been used against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, defense lawyer Arkady Bukh argues that the government has never matched up serial numbers from his client's sales to an enemy combat operation.

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