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Charliegone
03-15-2005, 7:45 PM
Hey guys check this out

Immigrant Accused of Weapons-Smuggle Plot
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Federal prosecutors charged Tuesday that a 26-year-old Armenian immigrant led a plot to sell military weapons to an FBI informant posing as a middleman for terrorists.
Other law enforcement officials, however, cast doubt on the danger posed by Artur Solomonyan and his associates, who allegedly claimed to be able to deliver rocket-propelled grenades, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles and other arms from the former Soviet Union.

"It's unclear if they were ever able to deliver on their promise on bringing weapons of war into the United States," said one law enforcement official familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They were earnest about trying to get them. They just never succeeded, and there was no indication they would be able to succeed."

U.S. Attorney David Kelley said in an interview Tuesday that Solomonyan, his South African partner, Christiaan Dewet Spies, and their associates were serious threats who demonstrated a clear ability and intent to sell military weaponry to the FBI informant.

The informant, a South African living in Texas, told the defendants he had ties to al-Qaida, officials said.

"No one's saying they're the biggest arms dealers, but they demonstrated an ability to obtain military weaponry and destructive devices, and we followed that investigative lead," Kelley said. "We've taken some very bad people off the street."

At least 17 people were arrested in the Los Angeles area, Florida and New York in connection with the case.

Solomonyan, Spies and seven other defendants were ordered held without bail Tuesday for allegedly conspiring to transport destructive devices, among other charges.

Solomonyan's attorney, Louis Fasulo, said: "He's planning a vigorous defense."

Spies' attorney declined to comment as he left federal court in Manhattan.

The informant contacted federal investigators last year after Spies offered to obtain explosives and machine guns from his contacts in Russian organized crime, according to a criminal complaint.

The gang of Armenians, Georgians, Russians and Americans arranged the sale of eight assault weapons during the investigation, the complaint said.

They also gave the informant access to a password-protected Web site with pictures of military weaponry that included the anti-aircraft missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, a mortar launcher and recoilless anti-tank guns, the complaint alleges.

Investigators said Solomonyan was recorded on wiretaps talking with associates in the United States and the former Soviet Union about obtaining the military weapons.

Solomonyan claimed he could obtain enriched uranium that "could be used in the subway system," the complaint alleges. Kelley said he did not believe Solomonyan could get uranium.

Solomonyan and Spies, 33, were arrested at a Manhattan hotel Monday night as they met with the FBI informant, who had said he was bringing green cards so the suspects, who are illegal aliens, could travel to obtain the weapons overseas, officials said.

Solomonyan entered the United States six years ago on a cultural exchange visa claiming he was a religious worker for the Church of Scientology, according to law enforcement officials, also speaking on condition of anonymity. He was living on the proceeds of Medicare fraud and other scams as he carried out the weapons scheme, the officials said.

Just more proof terrorist don't get their guns legally in the U.S.

Charliegone
03-15-2005, 7:45 PM
Hey guys check this out

Immigrant Accused of Weapons-Smuggle Plot
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Federal prosecutors charged Tuesday that a 26-year-old Armenian immigrant led a plot to sell military weapons to an FBI informant posing as a middleman for terrorists.
Other law enforcement officials, however, cast doubt on the danger posed by Artur Solomonyan and his associates, who allegedly claimed to be able to deliver rocket-propelled grenades, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles and other arms from the former Soviet Union.

"It's unclear if they were ever able to deliver on their promise on bringing weapons of war into the United States," said one law enforcement official familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They were earnest about trying to get them. They just never succeeded, and there was no indication they would be able to succeed."

U.S. Attorney David Kelley said in an interview Tuesday that Solomonyan, his South African partner, Christiaan Dewet Spies, and their associates were serious threats who demonstrated a clear ability and intent to sell military weaponry to the FBI informant.

The informant, a South African living in Texas, told the defendants he had ties to al-Qaida, officials said.

"No one's saying they're the biggest arms dealers, but they demonstrated an ability to obtain military weaponry and destructive devices, and we followed that investigative lead," Kelley said. "We've taken some very bad people off the street."

At least 17 people were arrested in the Los Angeles area, Florida and New York in connection with the case.

Solomonyan, Spies and seven other defendants were ordered held without bail Tuesday for allegedly conspiring to transport destructive devices, among other charges.

Solomonyan's attorney, Louis Fasulo, said: "He's planning a vigorous defense."

Spies' attorney declined to comment as he left federal court in Manhattan.

The informant contacted federal investigators last year after Spies offered to obtain explosives and machine guns from his contacts in Russian organized crime, according to a criminal complaint.

The gang of Armenians, Georgians, Russians and Americans arranged the sale of eight assault weapons during the investigation, the complaint said.

They also gave the informant access to a password-protected Web site with pictures of military weaponry that included the anti-aircraft missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, a mortar launcher and recoilless anti-tank guns, the complaint alleges.

Investigators said Solomonyan was recorded on wiretaps talking with associates in the United States and the former Soviet Union about obtaining the military weapons.

Solomonyan claimed he could obtain enriched uranium that "could be used in the subway system," the complaint alleges. Kelley said he did not believe Solomonyan could get uranium.

Solomonyan and Spies, 33, were arrested at a Manhattan hotel Monday night as they met with the FBI informant, who had said he was bringing green cards so the suspects, who are illegal aliens, could travel to obtain the weapons overseas, officials said.

Solomonyan entered the United States six years ago on a cultural exchange visa claiming he was a religious worker for the Church of Scientology, according to law enforcement officials, also speaking on condition of anonymity. He was living on the proceeds of Medicare fraud and other scams as he carried out the weapons scheme, the officials said.

Just more proof terrorist don't get their guns legally in the U.S.