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TN Executives Sentenced In Weapons Smuggling Case

Posted at 4:43 PM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 23:39:58-04

Four former employees of Sabre Defence Industries, LLC were sentenced for their roles in illegally exporting firearm components and other defense items back in 2011.

Sabre is a defense contractor that was formerly based in Nashville. Each of the four defendants were executives at the Nashville branch. They pleaded guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act, and to conspiring to do so.

Guy Savage, the British owner of Sabre, was known as Lord of War. He was also accused of illegally shipping parts for weapons with an ultimate destination of the middle east.

Savage, is not in the U.S. and officials have been trying to extradite him.

However, the four Tennesseeans working with him were each sentenced Friday to at least one year in prison for illegally exporting firearm components without approval for the U.S. State Department.

The men were accused of exporting parts for semi-automatic and fully automatic M-16 military assault rifles and silencers in 2011.

They did so using falsified shipping documents and crates with false bottoms to avoid detection while going through customs. 

Sabre also maintained a fake set of business books to conceal the shipments of firearm parts, lied about the value of items on shipping documents, and illegally imported silencers.

The four men sentenced Friday were:

  • Charles Shearon, 60, of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, the former Sabre President, was sentenced to 18 months in prison
  • Elmer Hill, 69, of Brentwood, Tennessee, the former Sabre Chief Financial Officer, was sentenced to 15 months in prison;
  • Michael Curlett, 49, of Wixom, Michigan, the former Sabre Director of Sales and Marketing, was sentenced to 13 months in prison; and
  • Arnold See, Jr., 59, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the former Sabre International Shipping and Purchasing Manager, was sentenced to 13 months in prison.

All defendants were also ordered to serve one year of supervised release at the conclusion of their prison terms.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations and by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, with assistance from the Department of Defense-Defense Criminal Investigative Service.