STROUDSBURG, Pa. (WBRE/WYOU) — On Friday, a Monroe County man was convicted of torture and the illegal export of weapons in Iraq.
Ross Roggio, 54, of Stroudsburg, was taken into custody in 2022 after authorities say he had arranged for Kurdish soldiers to abduct an Estonian citizen in 2015 whom he later tortured.
According to the DOJ, Roggio choked the victim with a belt, threatened to cut off one of his fingers, and directed Kurdish soldiers to beat, shock, choke, and “otherwise physically and mentally abuse” the victim over a 39-day period.
“Roggio brutally tortured another human being to prevent interference with his illegal activities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department`s Criminal Division. “Thanks to the courage of the victim and other witnesses, the hard work of U.S. law enforcement, and the assistance of Estonian authorities, he will now be held accountable for his cruelty.”
A release from the Department of Justice also states Roggio was developing a weapons factory in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to make M4 rifles and Glock 9mm handguns.
Roggio also illegally exported weapons parts that were controlled for exports by the Departments of State and Commerce, the DOJ stated in their media release.
“The illegal export of firearms parts and tools from the United States often goes hand in hand with other criminal activities, such as the charge of torture on which the jury voted to convict the defendant,” said Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson of the Department of Commerce`s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Office of Export Enforcement, New York Field Office.
Roggio was convicted of torture, conspiracy to commit torture, conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, exporting weapons parts and services to Iraq without the approval of the U.S. Department of State, exporting weapons tools to Iraq without the approval of the U.S. Department of Commerce, smuggling goods, wire fraud, and money laundering.
Sentencing for Roggio is scheduled for August 23 and he faces a maximum of life in prison.