WKRN web staff - CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Eight people, including six Fort Campbell soldiers and two civilians, are facing federal charges for conspiracy to steal sensitive U.S. Army equipment.
The men are accused of selling that equipment, worth over $1 million, to anonymous eBay bidders, including some in foreign countries.
Federal officials announced indictments against the men on Thursday during a press conference in downtown Nashville. Five were arrested at the time of the press briefing and two others are expected to surrender later.
The suspects are identified as:
- John Roberts, 26, of Clarksville – Civilian
- Cory Wilson, aka Jason Cory Wilson, 42, of Clarksville – Civilian
- Sgt. Michael Barlow, 29, of Clarksville – Infantryman who joined Army in 2010, Fort Campbell in 2011
- Sgt. Jonathan Wolford, 28, of Clarksville – Discharged from the Army in May 2016
- Spc. Kyle Heade, 29, of Fort Campbell – Discharged from the Army in June 2016
- Spc. Alexander Hollibaugh, 25, of Fort Campbell – Infantryman who joines Army in 2012, went to Fort Campbell later that year
- Spc. Dustin Nelson, 22, of Fort Campbell – Infantryman on the front lines who joined Army in 2013, went to Fort Campbell later than year
- Spc. Aaron Warner, 24, of Fort Campbell – Aircraft mechanic who joined Army in 2011, Fort Campbell since 2012
The equipment included sniper telescopes and rifle accessories, machine gun parts and accessories, grenade launcher sites, flight helmets, communication headsets, body armor, and medical supplies.
All of was stolen from Fort Campbell before officials say John Roberts and Cory Wilson sold it eBay.
Many of the items were advertised as "Army Special Forces" and U.S. Government Issued ("USGI").
The indictments allege Roberts and Wilson illegally sold restricted Army equipment—such as night vision helmet mounts—to eBay customers in foreign countries, including Russia, China, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Lithuania, Moldova, Malaysia, Romania, and Mexico.
The indictments also allege Wilson sold flight helmet mounts, advertised as USGI, to buyers in Russia, China, and Kazakhstan; and Roberts sold advanced communications headset helmets to buyers in Russia and China.
Rob Peal is a Marine veteran and an attorney. He says while they weren't stealing weapons, the equipment could harm troops overseas.
"I do look at it as a certain betrayal that this technology that's used to protect servicemen has been sold to people who are potentially our enemies," Peal said.
As for charges, each is charged with conspiring to steal or receive U.S. Army property to sell or convey Army property without authority.
Roberts also faces 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of violating the Arms Export Control Act.
Wilson also faces 7 counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of violating the Arms Export Control Act.
Barlow was also charged with three counts of selling or conveying U.S. Army property without authority.
Each defendant faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the conspiracy charge.
Roberts and Wilson face up to 20 years for each count of wire fraud and violating the Arms Export Control Act, and Wilson faces up to an additional 20 years on the money laundering charge.
In addition, Barlow faces up to 10 years in prison on each conveying charge.
The defendants also face forfeiture of the proceeds of their crimes.
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