* United States v. Hamayel (S.D. Fla. Dec. 16, 2010) (guilty plea in weapons export conspiracy case)
A guilty plea yesterday from a Palestinian man involved in a plot to purchase a large amount of automatic weapons, grenades, and material for IEDs for export. Details from the press release:
MIAMI – Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Abdalaziz Aziz Hamayel, 23, of West Bank Palestinian Authority, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to possess stolen firearms (M-16s, AK-47s) and to transport explosive materials, including hand grenades and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2011. Hamayel faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge.
According to statements made before U.S. District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks, in April 2009, an FBI confidential source told agents about two individuals, Hamayel and co-conspirator Yanny Aguila Urbay, 24, of Hialeah. According to the confidential source, these individuals wanted to purchase large quantities of automatic weapons. The confidential source then introduced an undercover officer (UC) to Hamayel and Urbay as a purported supplier of fully-automatic, stolen weapons
At their first meeting with the UC on May 11, 2009, Hamayel and Urbay requested 200 to 300 fully-automatic assault rifles. They also asked if the UC could supply grenades and homemade bombs with remote detonation capabilities. When asked what he was going to do with the weapons, Hamayel stated that the weapons would all be going out of the country.
On June 11, 2009, the UC met with Hamayel and showed him examples of the weapons he requested for purchase, including an AK-47, two M-16s, two grenades and two detonators for IEDs. On June 12, 2009, at Hamayel’s request, the UC provided a photo of these items to Hamayel so he could show the weapons to the prospective buyers.
On June 19, 2009, Hamayel left the country. When Hamayel returned to the United States on Aug. 30, 2010, he was arrested by federal authorities. Co-conspirator Urbay was subsequently arrested on Sept. 6, 2010. Urbay is scheduled to appear for trial on these charges before Judge Middlebrooks on Jan. 24, 2011.