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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Lebanese residents arrested in US for scheme to export firearms

Two men face federal court next week.

The operation was part of a two-year investigation by US Homeland Security. AFP
The operation was part of a two-year investigation by US Homeland Security. AFP

Two men were arrested in Seattle on Thursday after hiding firearms in a car they planned to ship to Lebanon, the US Department of Justice said.

Hicham Diab, from Tripoli and Nafez El Mir, a Canadian citizen living in Lebanon, were arrested after a two-year operation sparked by a tip off to US Homeland Security about Diab’s access and willingness to export firearms. Once tipped off, the agents made contact with

“In October 2018, Diab made plans to come to the U.S. and successfully wired funds for the purchase of firearms and a vehicle in which to hide the firearms,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.

“Diab arrived in Seattle on November 7, and was accompanied by El Mir who, according to Diab, had experience smuggling firearms hidden in automobile panels.”

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Diab was taken to a warehouse and inspected the firearms, provided by Homeland security. They included twenty Glock handguns, a Smith and Wesson .50 revolver, one FN Fiveseven pistol, an AR15 rifle kit and a M203 grenade launcher. ON thursday, authorities say both Diab and El Mir began hiding the weapons inside the door panels and bumper space of the car provided to them.

As they left the warehouse that day, the pair were arrested.

The men appeared in federal court on Friday facing charges of conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act and were detained pending hearings next week. If found guilty, they face up to five years in prison for the offenses.