CHICAGO (CBS) —  Neighbors say he’s a nice suburban man. But on Monday, Gary Tsai and his father were accused of trying to help North Korea produce weapons of mass destruction.

They are serious implications to some rather technical violations involving ordinary machinery.

The modest northwest suburban home of Tsai is where the deals were allegedly done. The feds implied the machinery could have ended up manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.

Tsai was charged only with doing business with companies banned for past dealings with North Korea.

He allegedly sold a Bryant center hole grinder and shipped it to his father in Taiwan. Alex Tsai, also charged in the case, was arrested in Estonia last week. He’d been previously convicted selling North Korea items to support its advanced weapons program.

Neighbors knew that son as quiet, a good neighbor.

“I knew he was in some kind of import export business,” neighbor Jerry Inguagiato says.

In court Monday, a federal magistrate agreed to the release of Gary Tsai to home monitoring on $500,000, secured by the home in Glenview and $90,000 cash.

Tsai’s wife, who is not charged or even mentioned in the indictment, declined to comment as she left the courthouse.

“There’s no allegation in this complaint that Mr. Tsai was aware than any of this old drilling equipment was destined or intended for North Korea,” defense attorney Ted Poulos told reporters.

That’s not what the government charges — only that the son did business with a father who was previously convicted of helping arm North Korea, then banned here.


Watch & Listen LIVE