LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Three Saudi nationals – including two who lived in San Bernardino – have been charged for allegedly violating federal export laws by purchasing more than $100,000 in weapons parts in the United States while on student visas and then smuggling the parts to Saudi Arabia, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Hatim Humeed Alsufyani, 36, and Mosab Alzahrani, 27, were charged in a five-count indictment returned Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Riverside with one count of conspiracy to smuggle goods out of the United States without obtaining export licenses.
Prosecutors say Alsufyani also was charged with three counts of knowingly exporting weapons parts without a license, while Alzahrani also was charged with one count of knowingly exporting weapons parts without a license.
Abdulwahab Mohammed A. Alabdulwahab, 30, formerly of Los Angeles, was charged in a separate indictment returned on Nov. 1 and unsealed Thursday with 15 counts of smuggling and 15 counts of knowingly exporting firearms parts from the U.S. without first having obtained an export license from the State Department.
A LinkedIn page for Alzahrani indicated he graduated from Cal State San Bernardino in 2012 and worked for BAE Systems, which has operations in the U.S., U.K., Saudi Arabia and Australia, according to the company’s website.
If convicted of all charges, Alsufyani would face a statutory maximum sentence of 65 years in federal prison, and Alzahrani would face 25 years in federal prison. Alabdulwahab would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for each smuggling count if convicted of all charges, and 20 years’ imprisonment for each violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
All three men are believed to be in Saudi Arabia, according to prosecutors.
According to investigators, between May 2014 and July 2018, Alsufyani and Alzahrani allegedly conspired to smuggle firearms parts from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia by concealing rifle barrels, rifle triggers, and other items related to firearms in their
checked luggage on flights from Los Angeles to Saudi Arabia.
They allegedly also would falsely identify rifle barrels, rifle triggers, and other items related to firearms as “shower curtain rods” or “car parts” before exporting the items to Saudi Arabia.
Prosecutors say Alzahrani attempted to board a flight on Dec. 10, 2016, from Los Angeles to Riyadh with 30 firearms parts concealed in his checked luggage, including 12 rear sight leaf assemblies and six New England Custom Gun single set rifle triggers.
The indictment alleges Alzahrani also lied to U.S. customs officials about possessing rifle barrels in the U.S. that were intended to be exported to Saudi Arabia, according to the indictment.
The FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations investigated both cases, with support from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.