NEW YORK (AP) _ A military-clothing manufacturer was indicted on charges he knowingly sold defective chemical protective suits to the U.S. Coast Guard for use in Operation Desert Storm, the Justice Department said Monday.

``Some of the suits contained, among other things, tears and holes which rendered them unsuitable as protection against chemical attack,'' according to the indictment handed up Friday by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn.

Jeffrey Weinsten, 53, president of Winfield Manufacturing Corp. and Winfield International Ltd., was charged with mail fraud for covering up the condition of the suits and failing to tell the Coast Guard that the suits had failed two previous Department Of Defense inspections.

He faces up to five years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.

His lawyer, Lawrence Hochheiser, contends his client clearly explained to the Coast Guard that the 400 suits had not passed quality assurance inspections in the late 1980s. They were sold for $36,000 in early 1991 for use by Coast Guard personnel in Saudi Arabia.

Weinsten claimed their only flaw was a slight discoloration.