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Bolingbrook Man Tried to Smuggle Illegal Camera into Pakistan: FBI

Bilal Ahmed faces fines of more than $1 million and up to 30 years in prison for trying to ship thermal imaging camera into the country.

Credit: File photo
Credit: File photo
A Bolingbrook man was indicted on federal charges Wednesday after he allegedly violated U.S. export laws by attempting to ship a thermal imaging camera from his company in Schaumburg to a company in Pakistan without obtaining a license from the U.S. Commerce Department, federal law enforcement officials announced Thursday.

Bilal Ahmed, 33, is accused of attempting to ship a FLIR HRC-U thermal imaging camera, which was on a Commerce Department list of controlled export goods for reasons of national security and regional stability. As a controlled material, a license was required from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security to export the camera to certain countries, including Pakistan, the FBI said.

Ahmed was charged with one count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and one count of attempted smuggling of goods in violation of U.S. export regulations in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury Wednesday.

Ahmed was initially charged in a criminal complaint and arrested on March 14, and he was subsequently released on a $100,000 secured bond, the FBI said Thursday. No date has been set yet for Ahmed to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

According to the complaint affidavit and the indictment, Ahmed was the owner, president, and registered agent of Trexim Corp., which used the address of a virtual office in Schaumburg, the FBI said. 

Between November 2013 and February of this year, Ahmed allegedly corresponded via email with a company in California and negotiated the purchase of a FLIR HRC-U camera for approximately $102,000, which he paid with two checks in February. Ahmed took delivery of the camera on February 27 at a commercial shipping store in Bolingbrook.

On March 7, Ahmed allegedly took the camera, packaged in two boxes, to a different commercial shipper located in Elk Grove Village and left the packages to be shipped to a company in Pakistan. The waybill included a handwritten note containing the letters “NLR,” meaning “no license required.” 

A search of U.S. State and Commerce Department databases showed there were no licenses applied for or obtained by Ahmed, Trexim,or any other related individual or company names for the export of a FLIR HRC-U camera from the U.S. to Pakistan, the indictment alleges.

Violating IEEPA carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, while attempted smuggling of goods carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

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