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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Iranian arms dealer secretly extradited to the US in '07

An Iranian arms dealer was arrested in Eastern Europe and secretly extradited to the United States in 2007 according to a report that appeared on Wednesday in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Iranian has been quietly jailed in a Philadelphia-area prison for nearly two years - the case sealed from public view - as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have scoured his laptop to pursue hundreds of leads about Iran's covert effort to acquire American military gear, law-enforcement sources said.

"This guy was very prolific - there were five or six years' worth of records related to Iranian procurement on the seized laptop," an official said. "His only customer was and always has been the Iranian government."


The charges against Ardebili, a former Iranian government procurement official, are likely to include a count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which essentially prohibits arms and other sales to Iran. He also likely faces money-laundering and conspiracy charges.


U.S. officials said the Ardebili case was unusual because it involved the arrest of an arms dealer living in Iran and working almost exclusively for the Iranian government. The case is rarer still, the officials said, because it involves the successful extradition of an Iranian citizen from a third country to the United States.

Law-enforcement sources said that the undercover ICE agents in Philadelphia made first contact with Ardebili in 2004 over the Internet, and that he began to request a wide variety of military gear, including night-vision equipment and missile parts.

In October 2007, the ICE agents lured Ardebili to an Eastern European country with the promise of buying gyroscopes and radar components. The law-enforcement sources declined to name the European nation involved, but another source confirmed that it was Georgia and that the sting operation took place in the capital of Tbilisi.

The ICE agents, posing as shady U.S. arms salesmen, captured their negotiations with Ardebili on videotape, officials said, and he was arrested by Georgian police on Oct. 2, 2007. Prosecutors in Wilmington won his extradition to the United States from Georgia in January 2008.

To pursue the leads from Ardebili's laptop, U.S. authorities kept the case under wraps in Wilmington for nearly two years. But in recent months the Iranian government and associated groups had begun to make public but cryptic statements about Ardebili.


At 11:00 AM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

has Barak Husain him not yet freed ??


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