(CN) — Amid mounting tensions between the U.S. and Russia this election season, federal authorities arrested a Brooklyn man and two Russian nationals accused of operating bogus storefronts to ship microelectronics to Russia, which can be used to develop missiles and satellites.
The three men, Alexey Barysheff of Brooklyn, and Russians Dmitrii Aleksandrovich Karpenko and Alexey Krutilin, were arrested before appearing Thursday before federal judges in Brooklyn and Denver.
The U.S. Department of Justice warned they were joined by other actors to get their hands on the microelectronics from manufacturers and suppliers within the United States and ship them to Russia.
The microelectronics they shipped to Russia included digital-to-analog converters and integrated circuits, along with radar and surveillance systems, missile guidance systems and satellites, authorities said.
Prosecutors say Barysheff opened a company in 2015 called BKLN Spectra and UIP Techno Corp.
"Since that time, the defendants and others have used those entities as U.S.-based front companies to purchase, attempt to purchase, and illegally export controlled technology," the Justice Department said in a news release.
Feds say they've already issued search warrants at both companies.
The Department of Commerce, by way of a presidential executive order, had placed restrictions on the export of such technologies to other nations. That's why the men hid behind their storefronts, prosecutors say.
The Justice Department added that the men induced U.S.-based and suppliers to sell them microelectronics and evade speculation by pretending to be employees and representatives of those two shell companies, and lied about the contents of their shipments to authorities.
The men tried to throw off authorities by first shipping the items to Finland, and then on to Russia, prosecutors allege.
If convicted of the charges, the three men face up to 25 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
"Barysheff, Karpenko, and Krutilin conspired among themselves and with others to send sensitive U.S. technology surreptitiously to Russia in violation of U.S. export law," John P. Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement. "These laws are in place to protect the national security, and we will spare no effort in pursuing and holding accountable those who seek to harm the national security by illegally procuring strategic commodities for foreign entities."
Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers added, "Those who seek to evade the scrutiny of U.S. regulatory and law enforcement agencies by operating in the shadows present a danger to our national security and our allies abroad."
The news comes amid the mounting international strife between the United States and Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.
Putin's name has been one of the key points for both U.S. presidential hopefuls this election season.
Republican nominee Donald Trump praised him, called him a friend and said he was a better leader than President Barack Obama.
"Wouldn't it be nice if we actually got along with Russia? Wouldn't that be nice?" Donald said in a speech in January.
Last month at a stump speech, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton called Trump's praise of Putin "unpatriotic" and "scary."
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.