A Syrian-born, naturalized U.S. citizen has pleaded guilty to working with multiple co-conspirators to smuggle U.S. tactical gear to arm and train Islamic terror groups in Syria.
Amin al-Baroudi and his co-conspirators “purchased tens of thousands of dollars of U.S.-origin goods from companies and vendors in the United States. These goods consisted largely of tactical equipment such as sniper rifle scopes, night vision rifle scopes, night vision goggles, laser bore sighters, speed loaders, and bullet-proof vests,” according to a statement of facts signed by Baroudi.
The U.S. Department of Justice stated: “Ahrar al-Sham frequently fights alongside Jabhat al-Nusrah, which has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization and operates as al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.”
The Syrian-born man — formerly a resident of Irvine, California — would fly with the equipment from the U.S. to Turkey before moving the goods on to “individuals and entities in Syria.”
In December 2011 Baroudi communicated with his co-conspirator, identified only as T.S. The two discussed smuggling the tactical gear to Syria on a flight from the U.S. to Turkey. Defendant al-Baroudi knew T.S. was associated with Aurar al-Sham.
In January 2013 the smuggler created a digital file listing supplies with pictures and descriptions and the words, “Sent 100s of them.” Baroudi sent versions of the document to co-conspirators identified in court documents as T.S., E.S., and S.A.
In early February 2013 Baroudi communicated to T.S. plans to travel with $30,000 in equipment on February 15 and asking the co-conspirator for travel advice. Court documents detailed communication from the smuggler to T.S.containing a list of items to be smuggled. Approximately February 15, Baroudi did travel with 14 checked bags containing the U.S.-origin tactical equipment on a flight to Turkey. He claimed to the airline that the bags contained “clothes.”
After delivering the items to rebel forces in Syria, he gave instructions on using the equipment. He returned to the U.S. around March 2, 2013.
Baroudi made a similar trip on about March 29, 2013. He also conspired and aided co-conspirators in conducting the same smuggling operation.
Authorities arrested Baroudi on December 3, 2015 at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, just one day after Islamic terror attacks in San Bernardino, California. He arrived at the Dulles airport on a flight from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Breitbart News previously reported on the indictment against Baroudi and a report that detailed an exponential increase in foreign fighters traveling to Iraq and Syria for the purpose of joining jihadist groups. Those groups include: the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front. The report stated that number at between 27,000 and 31,000. The numbers have more than doubled in the last 18 months.
Baroudi is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6, 2016, when he could receive a maximum of 20 years in prison.
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