FBI Shortlists Syrian and Lebanese Nationals in International Arms Trafficking Case, Others

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has announced that two executives from the Iraq-based arms company, Black Shield Ltd., are currently sought for their involvement in a major international arms trafficking operation.

Mohamad Deiry of Syria and Samer Rayya of Lebanon have been charged with attempting to export munitions illegally from the United States to Sudan and Iraq, actions that breach the Arms Export Control Act.

The U.S. Department of Justice has revealed that the charges stem from an intricate plot to smuggle military-grade weapons including anti-aircraft ammunition and various types of assault rifles, without obtaining the required U.S. licenses. These operations included elaborate routing of munitions through countries like Guatemala and Cyprus, ultimately destined for Sudan and Iraq, involving a network of intermediaries from several countries.

In response to these violations, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on Black Shield, Deiry, Rayya, and associated entities and individuals involved in the procurement network. These sanctions aim to disrupt the flow of illegal arms that contribute to global conflicts.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen emphasized that these alleged activities not only fuel violence in conflict zones but also pose a direct threat to U.S. and allied nations’ security. The Justice Department, along with the FBI, expressed a strong commitment to pursuing and prosecuting those who violate U.S. export laws.

The FBI’s National Security Branch’s Executive Assistant Director, Larissa L. Knapp, stated that the bureau is dedicated to tracking down and stopping individuals who illegally trade U.S. arms internationally. U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe also affirmed the dedication of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute those who illicitly supply munitions abroad, stressing the broader goal of preventing the destabilization of nations and the perpetuation of international conflicts.

Deiry and Rayya, if convicted, face significant prison terms for their alleged crimes, reflecting the serious nature of their offenses.


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