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March 31, 2021Chicago, IL, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE ERO removes national security threat to South Africa

CHICAGO – A South African man who served 42 months in prison for conspiring to illegally export goods and technology to benefit Hezbollah and is a clear threat to our nation was returned to South Africa today by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers.

Usama Darwich Hamade, 55, finished his sentence with the Department of Corrections and was taken into ICE custody to effect his removal.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, from 2009 through 2011, Hamade conspired with others to export U.S. origin goods and technology including inertial measurement units suitable for use in uncrewed aerial vehicles, or “UAVs,” digital compasses suitable for UAV use, a jet engine, piston engines, and recording binoculars, without obtaining the required export licenses from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State, in violation of IEEPA, the Export Administration Regulations, the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. According to evidence presented by the government, the ultimate beneficiary of Hamade’s actions was the designated foreign terrorist organization Hezbollah.

ICE is charged with enforcing federal immigration laws enacted by Congress. ICE officers are sworn law enforcement officers who carry out the arrest, detention and removal of individuals found to be in the United States unlawfully.

ICE lodges immigration detainers on individuals, like Hamade, who have been arrested on criminal charges and are suspected of being removable, so that ICE can take custody of that person when he or she is released from local custody.

On March 31, Hamade was removed from the United States via an ICE Air Operations charter flight and transferred to the custody of South African authorities April 1.

ICE is now implementing the interim civil immigration enforcement priorities directed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Jan. 20, to focus its limited resources on threats to national security, border security and public safety. ICE will continue to carry out is duty to enforce the laws of the United States in accordance with the Department’s national security and public safety mission.