By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
February 17, 2011
Exactly one year ago tomorrow, DefenseReview (DR) reported on a BATFE raid on AR-15 rifle/carbine manufacturer Sabre Defence Industries over alleged illegal weapons sales. Well, things are once again getting pretty interesting over at Sabre Defence on the (criminal) legal side. On February 8, 2011, the Nashville Business Journal (NBJ) reported that five Sabre Defence executives, including Sabre’s “United Kingdom (UK)-based owner and self-proclaimed “Lord of War” Guy Savage, 42; Nashville President Charles Shearon, 55, of Ashland City; CFO Elmer Hill, 64, of Brentwood; Director of Sales Michael Curlett, 44, of Hermitage; and International Shipping and Purchasing Manager Arnold See, Jr., 54, of Antioch” were the beneficiaries of a 21-count federal indictment related to the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). From the looks of it, the Sabre 5 are being charged with just about everything short of murder and kidnapping. To hear the U.S. Attorney tell it, you’d think the second incarnation of the Barker Gang was running the place.
The indictment alleges that the Sabre 5 have “conspired to intentionally violate the AECA by exporting firearm components without a license or written authorization since 2003.” O.k., so that sounds bad. How did the defendants allegedly violate the law? According to the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, the indicted individuals allegedly “falsified shipping records, concealed firearms components in false bottoms of shipping cartons and mislabled shipments to avoid scrutiny from customs and border control officers.” Ahhh, the old hide-the-weapons-components-in-the-secret-compartment trick. If the allegations are true, somebody obviously forgot to read Gun Running for Dummies and How to Smuggle Guns and Influence People, both of which specifically advise against this particular smuggling tactic.
His Lordship (Savage) was recently arrested in England, and U.S. authorities are apparently requesting extradition. On February 17, 2011, it was reported that Savage stated that he’s guilty of violating certain firearms regulations, but not weapons smuggling, according to British media reports.
While we’ve met Mr. Savage at past SHOT Shows, DefenseReview can’t really attest to the man’s character one way or the other. We don’t really know him. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but that’s about it. If he was hiding any illegal weapons in his pants on any of those occasions, we couldn’t tell. He was definitely wearing pants, though. Of the five indictees, Defense Review has had the most contact with Mike Curlett, who’s always been both curteous and professional with us, including recently at SHOT Show 2011. We should note that we’ve had zero contact with Mr. Curlett or anyone else at Sabre since the indictment was reported. DR hopes the allegations are false, and that the accused Sabre executives didn’t do what’s being alleged in the indictment. They’ve always been both nice and accommodating to us at their booth, and we do like their products.
Anyway, that’s not the totality of the recent intrigue at Sabre. As if a five-man, 21-count federal indictment isn’t enough, and to add insult to injury, Sabre reportedly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this week, and the company’s assets have apparently already been auctioned off. DR will try to find out who bought them.
Sabre Defence has a reputation for making excellent products, including complete firearms (AR-15 rifles/carbines) and barrels. Their rifle/carbine offerings include gas piston/op-rod ARs that utilize Adams Arms piston system kits. DR has heard some very positive things about Sabre Defence products, so we hope the company can continue doing business under the new ownership.
The one silver lining in all this is that Sabre is a British-owned company. So, if the allegations are eventually proven true, we can just blame it on the British.
Speaking of the “Lord of War“, great movie.
Disclaimer: Gun Running for Dummies and How to Smuggle Guns and Influence People are not actual books and don’t actually exist. They constitute artistic license by the author of this article.
Company and Organization Contact Info:
Sabre Defence Industries, LTD
Sabre House, Belvue Road
Northolt UB5 5QJ UK
phone: +44 (0) 20 8842 0603
fax: +44 (0) 20 8845 4814
Jerry E. Martin, U.S. Attorney
The United States Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee
110 Ninth Avenue, South
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: (615) 736-5151
Fax: (615) 736-5323
Email Webmaster: [email protected]