Businessman Faces Trial on Illegal Exports

From Times Wire Services

An Orange County electronics manufacturer pleaded innocent Monday to federal charges of illegally exporting nuclear triggering devices called krytrons to Israel.

Richard Kelly Smyth, accused of violating the Arms Control Act, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Pamela Ann Rymer, who set a trial date of Aug. 12.

Smyth, 55, of Huntington Beach, is accused of illegally exporting 800 krytrons to Israel. He has said he was astounded by the charges because he believed he had done nothing illegal. The electronic timing devices are also used in photo copiers and strobe lights.

Smyth is charged with 15 violations of export law and 15 counts of making false statements on government export forms. The maximum penalty on each export charge is two years in prison and $100,000.


The false statement charges carry maximum penalties of a $10,000 fine on each count.

The indictment, returned May 16, alleged that from January, 1980, through mid-December, 1982, Smyth sent the krytrons without obtaining the required export license or written approval from the U.S. State Department.

Smyth, president of Milco International Inc., maintained that he had reviewed the general export license regulations he believed were pertinent to shipment of krytrons and claimed, “There was no cross-reference to the munitions list that would have indicated the need for a special license.”

Israel said it has used krytrons for non-nuclear purposes and has agreed to return to U.S. custody the krytrons remaining in stock.