TAMPA, Fla. – A Texas man is charged with conspiring to export firearms without a license, exporting firearms without a license, and smuggling firearms from the United States in violation of federal export control and firearms laws, in an indictment that was unsealed on Friday. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, with assistance from the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.
According to the indictment, Eyad Farah, 41, of Barrington, Texas, is part of a network of individuals involved in smuggling firearms from the United States to the Middle East. The indictment alleges that the firearms were concealed in vehicles that had been purchased at used car auctions in Central Florida. The vehicles were then scheduled for export to Jordan.
According to court documents, Farah was arrested at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany June 2, 2015. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison for the conspiracy offense, up to 10 years’ imprisonment on the export charge, and up to 20 years in federal prison for the smuggling charge. The indictment was returned by the grand jury on September 4, 2014. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed on Friday.
Farah’s co-conspirator, Mahmoud Abdel-Ghani Mohammad Assaf, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is currently awaiting sentencing. Yasser Ahmad Obeid, a defendant in a related case, has also pleaded guilty. In December 2014, he was sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison.
“ATF's mission is the gun,” said Regina Lombardo, Special Agent in Charge, ATF-Tampa. “Whether it's domestic/international trafficking, or the gun is being used in violent crime, I will commit our resources to curb and stop illegal diversion of firearms or their use in violent gun crimes.”
John F. Khin, Special Agent in Charge, DCIS-Southeast Field Office, stated, "DCIS effectively collaborates with our partner agencies to battle against the illegal export of sensitive weapons and systems. This arrest highlights our continuing efforts."