LOS ANGELES – A Filipino national who pleaded guilty last year to federal charges arising from his role in a scheme to illegally export military aircraft parts from the U.S. to Iran was removed to the Philippines Wednesday by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Alfredo Guerrero Espartiro, 41, who prior to his arrest by U.S. authorities last year resided in Singapore, was repatriated to Manila by commercial aircraft, accompanied by officers from ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Espartiro, who served as a Philippines-based manager for a Florida firm called Southward Aviation Supplies, pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego in March 2012 to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The charges stemmed from an undercover probe by San Diego-based special agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) targeting a network of individuals suspected of attempting to purchase parts for F-5, F-4, C-130 and other U.S. military aircraft for Iran. Espartiro was sentenced to 18-months in prison for his role in the scheme.
HSI investigators arrested Espartiro when he traveled to Hawaii in January 2012 for a meeting with an undercover agent in the case. Under IEEPA, U.S. companies and individuals are prohibited from exporting military hardware and sensitive technology to Iran without a license and without authorization from the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Moreover, under the sanctions imposed by the United States – specifically, a trade embargo pursuant to the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR) – it is illegal to export or sell such items to Iran or the government of Iran from the United States.
Espartiro was remanded to ICE custody May 13 after fulfilling his federal criminal sentence. On May 29, he was ordered removed by an immigration judge, paving the way for his repatriation to the Philippines.
"As this case makes clear, ICE will use all of the tools and resources at its disposal to hold individuals accountable when their actions put Americans and our allies at risk," said Norma Bonales-Garibay, deputy field office director for ERO Los Angeles. "That resolve applies whether the foreign national in question is accused of crimes here or has fled to the U.S. in an effort to evade justice in his or her own country."