Four arrested in conspiracy to smuggle anti-aircraft missiles to Syria
PHILADELPHIA (Press Release)—Arrests were made Monday in a case involving a conspiracy to procure weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles.
A criminal complaint, unsealed Monday, charged Dani Nemr Tarraf with conspiring to acquire anti-aircraft missiles (FIM-92 Stingers) and conspiring to possess machine guns (approximately 10,000 Colt M4 Carbines). In addition, Tarraf and other defendants — including Douri Nemr Tarraf, Hassan Mohamad Komeiha, and Hussein Ali Asfour — were charged with conspiring to transport stolen goods. Dani Nemr Tarraf and Ali Fadel Yahfoufi were charged with conspiring to commit passport fraud.
“Keeping missiles, machine guns and other sensitive U.S. weapons technology from falling into the wrong hands is one of the Justice Department’s top priorities. I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who worked tirelessly to bring about these charges and arrests,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
“This investigation demonstrates the dedication and cooperation of law enforcement agents from numerous agencies,” said U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy. “These cases show the breadth of criminal activity engaged in by those who oppose us. The crimes charged here range from the purchase of stolen and counterfeit goods, to the purchase of false visas and passports, to the purchase of weapons. I want to compliment the law enforcement agents, the Assistant United States Attorneys, and the attorneys in the National Security Division of the Department of Justice for their efforts.”
According to the complaint, Hassan Mohamad Komeiha began purchasing purportedly stolen cellular telephones from a law enforcement officer acting in an undercover capacity (the “UC”) in or about June 2007. Over the next several months, Komeiha and his co-conspirators [Dani Nemr Tarraf, Douri Nemr Tarraf, and Hussein Ali Asfour] purchased purportedly stolen goods from the UC, including cellular telephones, laptop computers, Sony Play Station 2 systems and automobiles.
The complaint also alleges that Dani Nemr Tarraf conspired to acquire anti-aircraft missiles and conspired to possess machine guns. According to the complaint, in or about mid-June 2009, Tarraf asked whether the UC could supply guided missiles and told the UC that he (Tarraf) wanted the UC to export approximately 10,000 “commando” machine guns [Colt M4 Carbines with short barrels] from the United States. On or about July 28, 2009, in Philadelphia, Tarraf paid the UC a deposit of approximately $20,000 toward the cost of purchasing FIM-92 Stinger missiles and approximately 10,000 Colt M4 Carbines and shipping these items outside the United States.
Finally, the complaint alleges that Dani Nemr Tarraf and his assistant, Ali Fadel Yahfoufi, conspired to commit passport fraud. In furtherance of their scheme, Yahfoufi provided passport photos of himself to the UC, Tarraf agreed to pay the UC to obtain a U.S. passport in Yahfoufi’s name, and Yahfoufi instructed the UC to submit false information to the U.S. government in a passport application.
“The FBI remains resolutely committed to working with our law enforcement partners to find and stop those individuals who commit crimes, such as those alleged today, in support of a broader intent to commit acts of terrorism against the United States,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk, of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. “Today, through the well-coordinated effort of all involved agencies, dangerous weapons have been kept out of the hands of those who would turn those weapons against the United States.”
“ICE will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to disrupt networks involved in the illegal sale and distribution of weapons and critical technologies,” said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton. “Today’s arrests are a clear indication of the federal government’s commitment to keeping Americans safe.”
Information regarding the defendants is below:
- Dani Nemr Tarraf, of Trnava, Slovakia, was born in 1971 and faces a potential maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted.
- Douri Nemr Tarraf, of Trnava, Slovakia, was born in 1973 and faces a potential maximum sentence of five years imprisonment if convicted.
- Hassan Mohamad Komeiha, of Lebanon and Dearborn, Mich., was born in 1970 and faces a potential maximum sentence of five years imprisonment if convicted.
- Hussein Ali Asfour, a/k/a “Alex,” of Centreville, Ga., was born in 1976 and faces a potential maximum sentence of five years imprisonment if convicted.
- Ali Fadel Yahfoufi, of Trnava, Slovakia, was born in 1969 and faces a potential maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the New Jersey State Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Secret Service, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Department of Commerce, Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Federal Air Marshals, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Department of State.
It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nancy Beam Winter and Stephen A. Miller, and National Security Division Counter-terrorism Section Trial Attorney Jolie F. Zimmerman.
Preceding provided by U.S. Justice Department
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