PHILADELPHIA — A British man was successfully repatriated back to the United Kingdom by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers July 24, following his conviction for involvement in a conspiracy to illegally export sensitive technologies to Syria, subsequent to an investigation by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with support from the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement.
A federal indictment was unsealed in April 2014, charging a Pennsylvania resident, a United Kingdom citizen and a Syrian citizen, for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to illegally export laboratory equipment, including items used to detect chemical warfare agents, from the United States to Syria.
Ahmad Feras Diri, 43, of London, was sentenced to a 37-month term of imprisonment, a $100 special assessment, and ordered to forfeit $45,698 to the U.S. government. Diri was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in London March 14, 2013, and extradited to the United States on charges filed in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. He recently completed his prison term.
Another defendant, Harold Rinko, of Hallstead, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, was sentenced Oct. 13, 2015, to a term of time served, 12 months of home confinement, a fine of $2,600, a term of supervised release of two years, and was ordered to forfeit $45,698 to the government.
A third defendant, Moawea Deri, a citizen of Syria, remains a fugitive from justice.
Rinko operated an export business in Hallstead, Pennsylvania, and conspired with Diri to ship items purchased by customers in Syria in violation of U.S. law. The three men conspired to export various items from the United States, through third party countries to customers in Syria. The conspirators prepared false invoices which undervalued and mislabeled the goods being purchased and also listed false information as to the identity and geographic location of the purchasers of the goods. The items would be shipped from the United States to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, and thereafter transshipped to Syria. One such item is described in communications between the conspirators as “a portable multi-gas scanner for the detection of chemical warfare agents. Nerve, blood and lung warfare agents are detected using a highly sensitive ion mobility spectrometer.”