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May 3, 2019Chicago, IL, United StatesFirearms, Ammunition and Explosives

Chicago-area man convicted of conspiring to 'straw purchase' handguns for export to Egypt

CHICAGO — A federal jury on Wednesday convicted a Chicago-area man of conspiring to “straw purchase” several handguns on behalf of a woman who allegedly tried to smuggle the weapons into Egypt.

This conviction was announced by the following agency heads: U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr., Northern District of Illinois; Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Department. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also provided valuable assistance to this investigation.

“Individuals who circumvent our nation’s gun laws to illegally obtain firearms for others stand as a threat to our public safety and national security,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to enforce these vital laws.”

Omran Ismail, 53, of Burbank, Illinois, was found guilty of both counts against him: one count of conspiracy to knowingly make a materially false statement to a licensed dealer and knowingly and willfully smuggle firearms on a common carrier, and one count of acquiring a firearm from a licensed dealer by means of a materially false statement.

Evidence at trial revealed that in November 2013, Ismail purchased four handguns from a licensed firearms dealer in Tinley Park, Illinois, and then immediately transferred the guns to co-defendant Ola Sayed so that Sayed could bring them to Egypt.

The guns were discovered in Sayed’s checked luggage at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago as she attempted to board a flight to Cairo, Egypt, via London.

Sayed, 47, of Palos Park, Illinois, was charged in the conspiracy but fled and is considered a fugitive.

The conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison; the straw purchasing count is punishable by up to 10 years.

“Straw purchasers play a crucial role in enabling the unlawful possession of guns and the violence that could follow,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who engage in these illicit transactions.”

According to evidence presented at the three-day trial, Ismail purchased four 9mm firearms from the dealer on Nov. 18, 2013.

Sayed accompanied Ismail to the gun store, and Ismail falsely represented to the dealer that Sayed was his wife.

When he purchased the firearms, Ismail completed a federal form falsely certifying that he was the “actual buyer.”

Ismail picked up the guns from the dealer five days later, at which time he confirmed that all of his answers on the form were “still true, correct, and complete.”

Ismail then immediately transferred all four firearms to Sayed, so that Sayed could take the firearms with her to Egypt.

Sayed purchased two additional 9mm firearms, and then took all six guns with her to O’Hare Airport on Dec. 23, 2013, according to the charges pending against her.

Authorities at the airport discovered the guns in Sayed’s checked luggage as she waited to board her flight, the charges allege.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Abigail L. Peluso and Katie M. Durick, Northern District of Illinois, prosecuted this case for the government.

U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis set sentencing for Dec. 3, 2019.

Updated: 05/06/2019