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LAXintl
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10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:50 pm

An investigation, conducted by the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, the New York City Police Department, alleges 10 defendants of smuggling $50 million worth of electronic devices using Aeroflot Airlines workers. The devices included iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.

An inspection of crew members' luggage found millions of dollars of electronic devices, "many of which" had been stolen, per a release. Federal officers arrested eight leaders of the scheme Monday afternoon, while two others are fugitives. The Department of State has also revoked 113 visas of Aeroflot employees in connection with the scheme.


https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/te ... ing-scheme

Sounds like one heck of an operation to transport so much
Last edited by LAXintl on Mon Oct 19, 2020 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
x1234
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Mon Oct 19, 2020 10:05 pm

This is like the Air China story of smuggling packages. I wonder where they stole the Apple devices from? Credit Card fraud and drop boxes? I remember reading Russia is infamous for its credit card fraud.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:37 pm

I thought Apple had the will to track stolen devices and disable them.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
Noshow
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:53 am

Not sure if this is related but I red somewhere used but working iPhones handed in for recycling had been illegally and unofficially been sold in large numbers by third party employees that were meant to disassemble them.
 
southbound35
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:24 pm

$50M of iPhones? Sounds like a big operation for only ~500 phones? :)
 
morrisond
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:05 pm

southbound35 wrote:
$50M of iPhones? Sounds like a big operation for only ~500 phones? :)


That would be 50,000 iPhones @ $1,000 each = $50 Million
 
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Polot
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:12 pm

Nobody is looting stores, or using goods looted from stores, as part of a 100+ man $50 million+ operation.
 
BlueberryWheats
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:46 pm

morrisond wrote:
southbound35 wrote:
$50M of iPhones? Sounds like a big operation for only ~500 phones? :)


That would be 50,000 iPhones @ $1,000 each = $50 Million


I believe this was actually intended to be a humorous commentary on the ridiculous high prices of Apple products.
The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut.
 
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usdcaguy
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Tue Oct 20, 2020 7:36 pm

It’s good that the US has not decided to penalize Aeroflot themselves, as these were individuals that were merely associated with SU in some way. That said, that 113 SU people had their visas suspended over this is quite something. You have to hope there won’t be any retaliation.
 
morrisond
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Tue Oct 20, 2020 7:40 pm

BlueberryWheats wrote:
morrisond wrote:
southbound35 wrote:
$50M of iPhones? Sounds like a big operation for only ~500 phones? :)


That would be 50,000 iPhones @ $1,000 each = $50 Million


I believe this was actually intended to be a humorous commentary on the ridiculous high prices of Apple products.



Got it - No worries the stock market would say that $50 Million of extra sales per year is worth $400 Million which is even crazier.
 
Prost
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Tue Oct 20, 2020 7:54 pm

My layovers are positively boring.
 
kaitak
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:11 pm

Are all of the revoked visas related to SU flight crews? That's going to be a challenge to crew, if a significant number of the crews for the particular type they use are denied entry. Won't they have to switch to a different type, or train more crews onto 777s quickly?

Presumably, there will be disciplinary measures taken by SU itself as well.
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:41 pm

usdcaguy wrote:
It’s good that the US has not decided to penalize Aeroflot themselves, as these were individuals that were merely associated with SU in some way. That said, that 113 SU people had their visas suspended over this is quite something. You have to hope there won’t be any retaliation.

I would argue that management should get a very stem warning and some significantly increased CBP attention in the future. An operation this large involves a heck of a lot more than a few front line employees running a few kilos of cocaine like you typically see in these cases. It certainly isn't individuals "merely associated with SU in some way" when you're talking about a smuggling operation potentially with hundreds of millions (at least $50 million that we know about). That's a truly mind-boggling number no matter how you look at it. I would think that this has to be a massive operation that would likely have to involve some level of complicity in the management ranks. That's an epic amount of product and organization that would be impossible to accomplish without wide-ranging involvement.

If you could pool together 100 coworkers to run a $50 million plus smuggling operation without somebody bankrolling and greasing the wheels, then you guys make a heck of a lot more than I do! There's a lot more to this case than ten people running the show with 100 mules running product, but that's just my take.
 
SurlyBonds
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:15 am

atcsundevil wrote:
That's a truly mind-boggling number no matter how you look at it. I would think that this has to be a massive operation that would likely have to involve some level of complicity in the management ranks.


This is Russia we're talking about. Does complicity in the management ranks surprise *anyone*?
 
southbound35
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:19 am

BlueberryWheats wrote:
morrisond wrote:
southbound35 wrote:
$50M of iPhones? Sounds like a big operation for only ~500 phones? :)


That would be 50,000 iPhones @ $1,000 each = $50 Million


I believe this was actually intended to be a humorous commentary on the ridiculous high prices of Apple products.


Yeah, it was a bad joke.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:05 am

atcsundevil wrote:
usdcaguy wrote:
It’s good that the US has not decided to penalize Aeroflot themselves, as these were individuals that were merely associated with SU in some way. That said, that 113 SU people had their visas suspended over this is quite something. You have to hope there won’t be any retaliation.

I would argue that management should get a very stem warning and some significantly increased CBP attention in the future. An operation this large involves a heck of a lot more than a few front line employees running a few kilos of cocaine like you typically see in these cases. It certainly isn't individuals "merely associated with SU in some way" when you're talking about a smuggling operation potentially with hundreds of millions (at least $50 million that we know about). That's a truly mind-boggling number no matter how you look at it. I would think that this has to be a massive operation that would likely have to involve some level of complicity in the management ranks. That's an epic amount of product and organization that would be impossible to accomplish without wide-ranging involvement.

If you could pool together 100 coworkers to run a $50 million plus smuggling operation without somebody bankrolling and greasing the wheels, then you guys make a heck of a lot more than I do! There's a lot more to this case than ten people running the show with 100 mules running product, but that's just my take.

I would agree. From dealing with customs officers as part of my job, there's going to be repercussions, regardless if CBP decides they aren't going to officially penalize Aeroflot.

There would very likely be increased scrutiny of Aeroflot employees and staff moving forward; it would be more likely that Aeroflot employees would be subject to more frequent secondary searches, and more intensive checks as they arrive. Aircraft might get searched more frequently, and baggage might be subject to increased screening.
 
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vhtje
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:59 am

frmrCapCadet wrote:
I thought Apple had the will to track stolen devices and disable them.


Good point. It can definitely be done to a device that is connected to an Apple ID; one presumes it is also possible based on the device's serial number. A quick search on this is inconclusive.

However, the device needs to be connected to a network in order to be disabled; I assume these devices were new in the box and therefore not connected to any network. I guess it is also possible, depending upon how they were obtained, that the serial numbers of the devices were not known.
I only turn left when boarding aircraft. Well, mostly. All right, sometimes. OH OKAY - rarely.
 
LHRXXXLHR
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:44 am

Here is some more detail:

https://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/r ... 1.50041303

None of the ten charged are SU employees.

The crew involvement is going to be a problem for SU not to mention every SU crew member who arrives in New York if not all of the US.
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:59 am

LAXintl wrote:
An investigation, conducted by the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, the New York City Police Department, alleges 10 defendants of smuggling $50 million worth of electronic devices using Aeroflot Airlines workers. The devices included iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.

An inspection of crew members' luggage found...

Judging from some of the replies so far, not everybody has read the original link. As such, one important fact may have been overlooked.

These were electronic devices being EXPORTED from the USA to Russia.

Consequently there may other factors beyond the possibility these goods were stolen. They may have been purchased legitimately, but removed from the USA without proper paperwork and duties. :scratchchin:

It would certainly require a serious criminal network to collect 50,000 stolen items from within the USA !
Most perps that I know would be lucky to see half a dozen Apple devices a year from regular larceny; 500 would take a lifetime. And yet these were coming in by the truck load. :o


Another clue as the methodology comes here;
Dept of Justice wrote:
For example, between August 2019 and December 2019, Daibagya took four trips from the United States transporting over 1,000 Apple products valued at over $1 million,

and on October 5, 2019, Saidov carried nine suitcases containing 235 Apple products with an estimated value of about $250,000.

NINE suitcases! Nothing suspicious in that at all. :rotfl:
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:04 pm

LHRXXXLHR wrote:
Here is some more detail:

https://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/r ... 1.50041303

None of the ten charged are SU employees.

The crew involvement is going to be a problem for SU not to mention every SU crew member who arrives in New York if not all of the US.

Just to clarify in case it's a typo; is that
"None of the ten"
or
"Nine of the ten"?

It kinda affects your next statement regarding the effect on SU.
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
dtw2hyd
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:10 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
I thought Apple had the will to track stolen devices and disable them.


Like all security measures, it is there to trouble law-abiding folks. I am sure there are ways to beat activation lock. But I doubt these are old recycled products, generally these groups traffic high-end phones.

Using hypothetical 12 Pro max 512 GB, $1899 in Russia vs $1399 in the US. Even at $200 markup on each, $5.2 Million total profit moving $50 Million product. 10% margin, much better than running an airline. No wonder airline is not happy.
All posts are just opinions.
 
Noshow
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:24 pm

Finally when you log in your phone and sim card apple will know about your phone, serial number and location. So even recycling old phones from junk parts traces will be left. Given the large numbers involved it must in fact have been some "professional" source to supply all those phones.
 
Vladex
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:34 pm

As alleged, the defendants were members of an international smuggling ring that used a network of operators here and in Russia to circumvent U.S. export laws and regulations,

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... wi_fi.html
Sales and export of this item to China, Russia, and Venezuela are prohibited.

So this is just sanctions busting as normal, not theft and smuggling as implied.
 
mcogator
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:37 pm

A long time ago I dated a Russian girl in Florida. Whenever one of her friends were going back home to Moscow, she would buy 5-10 iPads, legitimately, to send with them to give to her brother. In exchange I think he would give them $50 per iPad carried.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
 
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mercure1
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Re: 10 individuals charged with Aeroflot crews smuggling $50 Million Apple devices

Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:04 pm

Aeroflot denies any current or former connection with the persons arrested despite U.S. government stating they were airline employees

https://www.aerotime.aero/gabriele/2621 ... gling-case

:sarcastic:
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