Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
Fifth Person Arrested in Connection with Scheme to Smuggle Guns to Lebanon
Fadi Yassine, age 42, a Lebanese citizen, was arrested last evening as he disembarked an international flight arriving in New York City.
Yassine was arrested without incident on a warrant issued in the Northern District of Iowa on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Yassine purchased guns in Lebanon that had been acquired in the United States and shipped to Lebanon by Ali Herz, Adam Al-Herz, Bassem Herz, and Sarah Majid Zeaiter. Yassine also purportedly communicated via Facebook from Lebanon with Bassem Herz in the United States to provide direction concerning which firearms to purchase. The affidavit also states that Yassine gave $30,000 cash to Ali Herz in Lebanon to be used to acquire more guns in the United States.
The Herzs and Zeaiter were each sentenced to terms of imprisonment in 2016 following their pleas of guilty to conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act and other offenses.
Yassine made his initial appearance in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, this afternoon. Yassine waived further proceedings in New York and was ordered to be transferred to Cedar Rapids in the Northern District of Iowa by the United States Marshals Service. A court appearance will be scheduled upon Yassine’s arrival in Cedar Rapids.
As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard L. Murphy and was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. The case file number is 17-mj-00030.
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