Galls Cooperating with Federal Investigation

(Direct Newline) Public-safety supplies cataloger Galls is under investigation for allegedly failing to obtain proper licenses before exporting merchandise overseas, according to federal documents.

The firm was contacted earlier this month by agents of the U.S. Department of Commerce at its Lexington, KY, facility in connection with recordkeeping and documentation of certain export sales. Galls is cooperating with the investigation, according to company spokesperson Kristine Grow. The probe involves shipments that had been made over the course of a few years, she said.

“We had agents at our headquarters facility in Lexington as well as our distribution center in Lexington,” said Grow. “Nothing was seized from the locations. We are sharing documents with them. And we are reviewing our current policies and procedures to ensure we are in full compliance with all the relevant export laws.”

Agents from several agencies arrived Galls’ two Lexington locations at about 9 a.m. on July 21. Employees said they were told to leave their work areas while the search was conducted, according to published reports.

Despite the ongoing investigation, the company is in full operation and is fulfilling and shipping customer orders, according to Grow. Galls is a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp. “Aramark has owned Galls since 1995 and, since then, Galls has experienced no previous federal investigation for its export sales,” Grow said.

A Lexington television station had reported that two former Galls employees said they noticed shipments of military items to Iran and other countries while they worked for Galls but were told by managers not to be concerned about it.“There is no truth to that,” Grow said. “Galls does not ship to embargoed countries. And those two ex-employees did not have any involvement whatsoever in international sales or in export procedures. Approximately 5% of Galls’ annual sales are outside of the United States.”

Agencies involved in the investigation include the Commerce Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which falls under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that federal agents seized bank and credit card records from the house of Yuri Montgomery of Seattle a week before the search warrant was issued at the Galls facilities. Montgomery was named in an affidavit agents used to obtain the search warrant. The affidavit stated Galls allegedly exported items to an address in Macedonia that were paid for using Montgomery’s personal credit card, according to the AP report. The affidavit also stated Montgomery had his export privileges denied by a federal court.

Montgomery pleaded guilty in 1998 to violating federal export controls by exporting laser rifle sights, ballistic helmets, optical sights, handcuffs and stun guns to Macedonia and Slovenia. He served three years probation and agreed to leave the export business, according to the AP.

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