Investigator says hundreds of counterfeit rifle parts found at Cary home

rgallagher@newsobserver.comMarch 26, 2013 

— A secretary of state’s investigator, working with U.S. Homeland Security agents, seized 1,559 mostly counterfeit Chinese parts for rifle accessories when they raided a Cary home earlier this month, according to a search warrant made public Tuesday.

The parts are all for rifle accessories such as sights, lights, grips and butts. None of the parts listed in the search warrant as seized property involves firing mechanisms.

Special Agent Renee N. Davis wrote in the warrant request that the Cary connection had been discovered two days earlier when she and Homeland Security agents opened a parcel that had been shipped by the DHL delivery service from China to Raleigh for delivery to Jennifer Tan at 1025 Daybreak Bluff Drive in a Cary subdivision.

The agents were screening parcels from China at DHL’s Morrisville terminal for “packages containing illegal or prohibited items in violations of customs law,” Davis wrote.

Inside, Davis told Manning, were parts marked as coming from A.R.M.S. Inc., a Massachusetts company that makes equipment for mounting sighting scopes on rifles, particularly the M-16/M-4 military assault rifles and the AR-15 civilian equivalent.

Davis contacted the company, and a senior executive there pronounced the seized mounts to be counterfeit, Davis said.

In the garage at Daybreak Bluff Drive, the returned warrant says, agents found an array of telescopic sights, mounting equipment for sights, several flashlights marked as known brands that can be mounted on rifles for tactical use, and other gun grips, butts, butt pads, bipods for supporting the barrel in precise shooting situations, and other gear.

“It is my belief that Jennifer a.k.a. Guotao Tan is engaged in an ongoing criminal business to import and distribute counterfeit items such as the sights,” Davis wrote.

The warrant lists the need to seize computers, cellphones and other devices to complete the investigation; the returned warrant lists only the rifle equipment.

Wake County property records list Guotao Tan as the owner of the home, a two-story building with a two-car garage at Daybreak Bluff Drive and Mesquite Ridge Place that was purchased in 2010.

Vinny Picard, a spokesman in the Department of Homeland Security’s regional office in Atlanta, said no federal charges are pending against Tan. He declined comment on the search except to say it was part of “an ongoing federal criminal investigation.”

Gallagher: 919-829-4572

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