Ten people, including crew members of a Russian airline, were arrested in New York for smuggling iPhones worth R $ 277 million.
According to a statement from New York’s Eastern District Court, the defendant is charged with transporting stolen goods, non-communication of exports, illegally exporting electronics, and conspiring to commit these crimes. All involved are Russians, many Aeroflot employees and ex-employees. Their names are Akmal Asadov, Sayuz Daibagya, Anton Perevoznikov, Shohruh Saidov, Marat Shadkhin, Kirill Sokhonchuk, Zokir Iskanderov and Azamat Bobomurodov, as well as two other people who have not yet been arrested.
The investigation was carried out in collaboration between the FBI, CBP (Border Control), the Chamber of Commerce and the New York Police Department.
According to the court, $ 50 million (the equivalent of R $ 277 million) was smuggled into the iPhone, with some iPads and Apple Watches also included. The program was orchestrated by Sayuz while still in Russia, who came into contact with crew members and with Akmal, Kirill, Anton and Marat, who were always in the USA.
Preserved iPhones were often stolen and sold to Russians for smuggling. To give you an idea, between August and December last year, only Sayuz made four trips with a thousand Apple products valued at $ 1 million (R $ 5.56 million). On only one of these trips, Sayuz took nine suitcases with 235 Apple products valued at US $ 250,000.
As a result of the investigation, 113 Aeroflot employees in addition to the 10 people with arrest warrants have revoked visas and are unable to travel to the United States. During the search and seizure mandate, 600,000 USD (R $ 3.3 million) in cash were found alongside several devices. It was not disclosed whether Aeroflot itself was fined for smuggling.