3 foreigners smuggle chemical equipment to Syria: Report

3 foreigners smuggle chemical equipment to Syria: Report
Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:57:47

Three men including an American have been charged with plotting to illegally export lab equipment and chemical warfare devices to Syria, according to an unsealed indictment.

US prosecutors have charged a 72-year-old Pennsylvania man Harold Rinko, the owner of Global Parts Supply, which exported illegal goods, and brothers Ahmad Deri, a UK national and Moawea Diri, Syrian national for smuggling contraband via third states.

According to the Justice Department, Diri was arrested in London in March 2013 and is facing extradition to the United States, while his brother Deri remains at large. Prosecution has offered Rinko a plea agreement that is pending court approval.

A federal judge in Scranton, Pennsylvania, unsealed the case 17 months after Assistant US Attorney Todd Hinkley, signed a plea agreement for one of three men charged in 2012.

Three men stand accused of illegal export of goods, money laundering, conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false statements. Their criminal actions, the investigators believe range from creating false invoices, undervalued and mislabeled the items, to listing false purchases and buyers before smuggling the goods via United Arab Emirates, Jordan and the United Kingdom for nine years, between 2003 and late 2012.

Investigation believes that men sold portable instruments used to detect chemical agents, industrial engines used in oil and gas fields, laboratory equipment, a device used to locate buried pipelines and masks used against chemical agents.

The US and its Western allies accused the Syrian government of using chemical arms against Syrian nationals, however, the claim was strongly denied by the Syrian government. The similar reports from other sources also show that the Western parties are the main supporters of send such chemical equipment to Syria which fell into the wrong hands.

“No good comes of illegal exports to Syria during this time of gross misgovernment and strife,” said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of US Homeland Security Investigations in Philadelphia, The Times-Tribune quotes. “HSI will do all in its power . . . to ensure that sensitive technology doesn’t fall into the wrong hands in Syria.”’

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.

According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.


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