Improvised explosive devices have been the weapon of choice for insurgents in Iraq -- causing 60 percent of all U.S. combat casualties there. Now, the Justice Department says it can prove that some of the components for those bombs were made in America.
At least 16 unexploded bombs recovered in Iraq had remote-controlled detonators equipped with electronic modules built by Digi International, a company based in Minnetonka, Minn.
Prosecutors say Digi sold the radio devices to Singapore companies who claimed they were working on a big telecom project.
But an indictment unsealed Tuesday makes it clear that Digi was duped.
The Singapore firms illegally resold the modules -- at a profit -- to a conspirator in Iran, in direct violation of U.S. trade restrictions.
The U.S. government does not know what's happened with the overwhelming majority of the devices. But a trace of serial numbers helped reveal the 16 that found their way into improvised explosives in Iraq.
U.S. officials cannot say how many of the modules may have been used in bombs that exploded. But the U.S.-made radio devices present a particularly lethal threat; the technology is capable of triggering a bomb 40 miles away.
Five people now have been indicted in the smuggling case. Four are awaiting extradition from Singapore and the fifth is a fugitive in Iran. Digi faces no charges and is accused of no wrongdoing.