Pennsylvania man convicted of torturing employee and running illegal operation

Ross Roggio, a 54-year-old man from Pennsylvania, has been convicted of multiple crimes linked to running an unlawful weapons manufacturing unit in Iraq. A federal jury handed down the conviction on May 19, with the Department of Justice subsequently publicizing the trial’s conclusion.

Roggio was active in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where he was implicated in the creation of a weapons manufacturing plant. He imparted training to individuals there on the assembly, operation, and manufacturing of the M4 automatic rifle. Additionally, Roggio violated U.S. regulations by exporting restricted weapons components from the United States.

Evidence presented at trial and documents released by the court reveal an even more troubling facet of Roggio’s operations. In 2015, he tortured an Estonian employee of the weapons plant over a span of more than a month. This unnamed victim was kidnapped and kept at a Kurdish military facility where Roggio subjected him to suffocation, threats, and directed physical and psychological abuse by Kurdish soldiers. The ordeal lasted for 39 days.

It was the victim’s bravery in coming forward that led to the conviction of Roggio on various counts. Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, praised the victim’s courage and acknowledged the hard work of U.S. law enforcement as well as the assistance of Estonian authorities in holding Roggio accountable for his crimes.

The charges against Roggio are extensive, ranging from torture, conspiring to torture, planning an offense against the United States, and exporting weapons parts and services to Iraq without the required authorization from the Department of State and Commerce. He’s also charged with smuggling goods, wire fraud, and money laundering.

Roggio could face life imprisonment when he’s sentenced.