SALT LAKE CITY — A Russian citizen was ordered deported Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges of violating arms control law and smuggling F-16 fighter jet technical manuals to Moscow.
In exchange for his admitting the charges, U.S. prosecutors dropped three other similar counts against Oleg Mikhaylovich Tishchenko, 42, who had been held at the Weber County Jail in Ogden pending trial.
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball sentenced Tishchenko to 12 months and one day of imprisonment but gave him credit for time served and added a 36-month term of probation.
The judge then ordered U.S. marshals to put Tishchenko on a flight to Moscow to fulfill Tishchenko’s “self-deportation.”
The order said Tishchenko had no U.S. criminal record and that according to the Russian Embassy, he had no record in his home nation either.
Prosecutors accused Tishchenko in a sealed indictment in 2016 with charges of smuggling and unlawful export of arms and munitions. Charges dropped in the plea bargain were counts of conspiracy against the United States, attempted unlawful export and attempted smuggling.
In court Wednesday, Tishchenko admitted arranging to have an American obtain two F-16 manuals that were up for sale on eBay and ship them to Moscow. Prosecutors said Tishchenko later auctioned F-16 manual materials to people in six other nations.
U.S. officials did not disclose the identity of the eBay seller or say whether that person was prosecuted or where and how the manuals were obtained.
But because the charges were filed in the Utah federal district, it signaled that at least part of the crime occurred in Utah.
The indictment said Tishchenko told a co-conspirator he also was interested in F-22 and F-35 manuals. Those two planes and the F-16 have a history of being based or maintained at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base.
Prosecutors earlier dropped charges against a Texan who bought the F-16 manuals on eBay and shipped them to Tishchenko in Moscow.
The indictment said Tishchenko told people in an online forum that he wanted F-16 manuals for help in developing fighter jet models in a popular Russian video game. He identified himself as a video game programmer.
In the plea bargain, Tishchenko admitted he knew the manuals were export restricted under the U.S. Arms Control Act and that the documents were included on the protected U.S. Munitions List.
After they indicted Tishchenko, prosecutors sought his extradition. However, Russia and the United States do not have an extradition treaty. He was taken into custody only after he traveled to the Republic of Georgia. There, Georgia then turned him over to U.S. authorities.