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Lee Carpentieri
February 10, 2011, 16:33
A federal grand jury charged Nashville-based gun manufacturer Sabre Defence Industries and five company officers with illegal international arms trafficking.



Sabre's largest customer was the U.S. military until the company shuttered operations late last year.

Owner Guy Savage, a United Kingdom citizen, and Middle Tennessee residents President Charles Shearon of Ashland City, Chief Financial Officer Elmer Hill of Brentwood, Director of Sales Michael Curlett of Hermitage and International Shipping and Purchasing Manager Arnold See Jr. of Antioch are the individuals charged.



They also face charges of conspiracy, making false statements, smuggling, wire fraud and mail fraud in the 21-count indictment unsealed Tuesday.

They and the company, located at 450 Allied Drive in Nashville, are accused of illegally importing and exporting regulated gun components to and from the United States. The indictment alleges that Savage directed the activity from the U.K., where he owns a gun manufacturer of the same name.



Federal prosecutor John Webb said authorities aren't sure where the illegally trafficked gun parts ultimately ended up and hope to find out.

E-mails reveal frustration
In July 2004, Savage displayed his frustration with United States regulators in an e-mail to Hill and Shearon cited in the indictment: "This Iraq situation has companies banging on our door for M16s because we are the only supplier outside the U.S. since the State Department has a lump of granite up their asses with exporting machine guns to anywhere. I'm not prepared to have bureaucrats in another country tell me how to run my business in the UK, which is incidentally their only reliable ally on the planet."



Multiple subsequent e-mails cited in the indictment show company officials openly discussing skirting authorities.



The indictment alleges that the defendants concealed their activities by falsifying shipping records and labels and concealing gun components in false bottoms of boxes. The indictment alleges that Sabre smuggled regulated firearms components overseas without required licenses or authorizations since at least 2003, shortly after Savage acquired the U.S. company.



Sabre was raided by the ATF in February 2010. At the time, Shearon said the raid concerned the potential criminal misuse of Sabre firearms by individual employees of the company. One former Sabre employee was charged last year of using company parts to illegally build and sell guns, but the indictment unsealed Tuesday reveals far broader allegations. The federal prosecutor said Tuesday's indictment was "directly related" to the February 2010 raid.



Sabre continued operating for several months after the raid before its lender, Cadence Bank, forced it to shut down by seizing its accounts. In a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court, the bank says Sabre owes it $1.7 million. A foreclosure sale of the company is scheduled for Feb. 15. An announcement of the liquidation by Cadence to bidders notes that there is an opportunity to continue the business at its existing location with equipment in place.



According to court filings, the U.S. government stopped accepting shipments from Sabre in July 2010. The indictment states that Sabre's contracts with the Department of Defense totaled between $74 million and $120 million.



The company, formerly known as Ramo Defense Systems, started as a small Nashville gun manufacturer in 1978. Savage purchased the company in 2002 and renamed it after Ramo had entered bankruptcy. Savage oversaw the company's massive growth fueled by military contracts as the U.S. waged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.



The company also benefited from a boost in consumer sales that followed the election of President Barack Obama, because of fears that stricter gun control would accompany his election.

Shop owner surprised
Jerry Hassler, who owns Franklin Gun Shop with his sons, said Sabre made excellent, accurate and reliable semi-automatic weapons of a high quality typically associated only with custom makers. Hassler said he found the charges hard to believe, but conceded, from experience, that "if you're going to be in the gun business, you got to do the paperwork."



Savage was arrested Tuesday in London and is awaiting extradition to the U.S. Each of the other four defendants has been issued a summons to appear in the U.S. District Court in Nashville.

"We don't have any reason to believe they're a flight risk," Webb said. "Mr. Savage, on the other hand, is a foreign national, and there is a flight risk."

Messages left with Sabre's attorneys at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings were not returned Tuesday afternoon.



If convicted, each count comes with maximum sentences ranging from 5 to 20 years and fines ranging from $250,000 to $1 million.

harleypower69
February 11, 2011, 12:24
Thanks for posting this. This explains why Steyr halted the AUG production through them. Wonder if Steyr will pick a new stateside manufacturer and continue offering the AUG3. Glad I bought mine when I did along with parts as it seems like they may be scarce for a while.

MistWolf
February 12, 2011, 00:23
Stupid ITAR laws

L Haney
February 12, 2011, 11:21
"Sabre was raided by the ATF in February 2010. At the time, Shearon said the raid concerned the potential criminal misuse of Sabre firearms by individual employees of the company."

How many people died as a result of this crime? How many stickups occurred? How many armed assaults, bank robberies, terrorist attacks were carried out? Any? Or was it a violation of some of the millions of regulations that don't accomplish squat.

DABTL
February 14, 2011, 11:51
Originally posted by L Haney
"Sabre was raided by the ATF in February 2010. At the time, Shearon said the raid concerned the potential criminal misuse of Sabre firearms by individual employees of the company."

How many people died as a result of this crime? How many stickups occurred? How many armed assaults, bank robberies, terrorist attacks were carried out? Any? Or was it a violation of some of the millions of regulations that don't accomplish squat.

Committing felonies on a wholesale basis is not exactly violating regulations.

gaijinsamurai
February 22, 2011, 19:29
I have one of their barrels on an AR, and it is first-rate. I hope the company pulls through.

Peconga
February 24, 2011, 01:45
Originally posted by DABTL


Committing felonies on a wholesale basis is not exactly violating regulations.

Unless the people committing those wholesale felonies happen to work for Citicorp or Goldman Sachs, in which case it is simply called "Business as Usual". :angel:

Cheers,
Peconga in Boise, Idaho

"One more piece of that tasty TARP pie and I'll be too big to fail, myself."