Former gun company execs sentenced for illegally exporting arms

Former employees of a gun company and defense contractor that operated out of Nashville were sentenced last week for illegally exporting gun parts.

The four men who worked for the now defunct Sabre Defence pleaded guilty in 2011 to violating the Arms Export Control Act and conspiracy, the Justice Department said.

  • 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.

Each man must report to prison on Sept. 20 and will serve one year supervised release after their prison terms. They were originally charged with 21 counts of violating arms exporting laws and fraud in 2011, but several counts were dismissed. Also, the judge’s reasoning for the varied sentences has been sealed, according to the docket report.

A fifth man, Guy Savage, 47, of London, England, has also been charged in the case and faces extradition proceedings.

In their guilty plea, the men acknowledged their role in exporting firearms and components that were classified as defense articles without first obtaining permission from the U.S. State Department. Sabre had contracts with the U.S. government valued at more than $74 million that included making M16 rifles.

According to court documents, the four men exported military-grade weapons parts such as rifle barrels, barrel assemblies, silencers, and flash hiders and they tried to falsify documents and shipping materials so it looked lawful.

Also, Sabre maintained a fictitious set of business records to conceal its unlawful shipments, lied about the value of items on shipping documents, and illegally imported firearm silencers.

In a sentencing memo, the Justice Department explained laws regarding exporting arms exist to maintain world peace and secure the United State’s security and foreign policy efforts.

“Few goals — even within the weighty realm of criminal law — could possibly be deemed as essential and meaningful as these,” the department said.