Man sentenced for exporting IED components from U.S. to Iran

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A Singapore man was sentenced Thursday to 40 months in prison for his participation in a plot to illegally export thousands of radio frequency modules to Iran, a number of which were later discovered in unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq.

Lim Yong Nam, aka Steven Lim, 43, a citizen of Singapore, was extradited from Indonesia in 2016 where he had been detained as a result of the United States’ request for extradition. Lim entered a guilty plea on December 15, 2016, to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by dishonest means. Following the completion of his sentence, Lim will be deported.

In June 2010, Lim and his accomplices were indicted on charges involving the shipment of radio frequency modules produced by a Minnesota-based company. Commercially, the modules are used in wireless local area networks connecting printers and computers in office settings. The modules had encryption capabilities and a range allowing them to transmit data wirelessly up to 40 miles away when configured with a high-gain antenna.

Justice.gov reported, “These same modules also have potentially lethal applications. Notably, during 2008 and 2009, coalition forces in Iraq recovered numerous modules made by the Minnesota firm that had been utilized as part of the remote detonation system for IEDs.”

Plea documents filed in the case revealed that, between 2001 and 2007, IEDs were the most prominent source of American combat casualties in Iraq.

Lim admitted in a statement that between August 20017 and February 2008, he and his accomplices facilitated the purchase and illegal export of 6,000 modules from the Minnesota-based company via Singapore to Iran in five shipments.

The Minnesota firm was informed by Lim and his accomplices during each transaction that the modules were being shipped to Singapore, and never mentioned Iran. Lim and his group also filed false documents with the U.S. government stating the same, despite their knowledge of the restrictions on supplying Iran with goods of U.S. origin.

Following the arrival of the modules in Singapore, they were stored at a freight forwarding company until being mixed in with other electronic components and shipped to Iran.

Justice.gov noted that 14 of the 6,000 modules the defendants had shipped from Minnesota to Iran were later recovered in Iraq, where they were incorporated into IED remote detonation systems.

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