PALESTINIAN NATIONAL PLEADS GUILTY TO WEAPONS CHARGES
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that defendant Abdalaziz Aziz Hamayel, 23, of West Bank Palestinian Authority, pled guilty today to one count of conspiracy to possess stolen firearms (M-16s, AK-47s) and to transport explosive materials (hand grenades and improvised explosive devices (IEDs)), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Sentencing is scheduled for February 22, 2011. Hamayel faces a maximum statutory sentence of five (5) years’ imprisonment on the conspiracy charge.
According to statements made before U.S. District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks, in April 2009, an FBI confidential source told agents about two individuals, Hamayel and co-conspirator Yanny Aguila Urbay, 24, of Hialeah. According to the confidential source, these individuals wanted to purchase large quantities of automatic weapons. The confidential source then introduced an undercover officer (UC) as the purported supplier of fully automatic, stolen weapons to Hamayel and Urbay.
At their first meeting with the UC on May 11, 2009, Hamayel and Urbay requested 200- 300 fully automatic assault rifles. They also asked if the UC could supply grenades and homemade bombs with remote detonation capabilities. When asked what he was going to do with the weapons, Hamayel stated that they would all be going out of the country.
On June 11, 2009, the UC met with Hamayel and showed him examples of the weapons he requested for purchase, including an AK -47, two M-16s, two grenades, and two detonators for IEDs. On June 12, at Hamayel’s request, the UC provided a photo of these items to Hamayel so that Hamayel could show the weapons to the prospective buyers.
On June 19, 2009, Hamayel left the country. When Hamayel returned to the United States on August 30, 2010, he was arrested by federal authorities. Co-conspirator Urbay was subsequently arrested on September 6, 2010. Urbay is scheduled to appear for trial on these charges before Judge Middlebrooks on January 24, 2011.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and its Task Force partners. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen E. Gilbert and Michael R. Sherwin.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.