For Immediate Release
Texas Man Charged with Conspiring to Smuggle Weapons to the Middle East
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Eyad Farah (41, Barrington, Texas) 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. 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.
According to the indictment, Farah 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 on June 2, 2015. He made his initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed earlier today.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
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.
"This arrest represents a significant milestone in combating weapons smuggling by transnational criminal organizations," said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. "It is through collaborative efforts with our domestic and international law enforcement partners that the United States will stem the tide of this continuing threat."
"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."
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, 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. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Josephine W. Thomas and Adam M. Saltzman.