FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
DECEMBER 14, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
INDONESIAN MAN SENTENCED FOR CONSPIRACY TO PROVIDE MATERIAL SUPPORT TO A FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION, MONEY LAUNDERING AND ATTEMPTED EXPORT OF ARMS
Aided Tamil Tiger Terrorists in the Attempted Purchase of Surface to Air Missiles, Night Vision Devices, Machine Guns and State of the Art Firearms
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Haji Subandi, age 70, a citizen of the Republic of Indonesia, today to 37 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, two counts of money laundering and attempted exportation of arms and munitions, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. He will be deported from the United States at the conclusion of his sentence.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “We are using all available legal tools to prevent terrorism, including undercover operations targeting people who attempt to obtain military weapons in violation of American law."
"From start to finish, this case demonstrates the cooperative and relentless efforts of U.S. law enforcement agencies to pursue terrorist organizations and their illicit supporters" said James A. Dinkins, Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) "ICE will continue to do everything we can to keep sophisticated U.S. weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists"
Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William D. Chase, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office, said "We must disrupt the activity of any person or organization who tries to raise funds or procure arms to commit acts of terrorism. The FBI will continue to work diligently to disrupt and dismantle terrorist groups worldwide"
"This investigation demonstrates the resources and teamwork needed to effectively protect our military technology. The Defense Criminal Investigative Service has made these cases a priority and will continue to work in concert with our law enforcement partners, protecting the War-fighter and innocent civilians from terrorists and arms-dealers," said C.R. Gillum, Resident Agent in Charge for DCIS in Baltimore, Maryland.
Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to
the Tamil Tiger Terrorists; Money Laundering
According to the plea agreement, from April to September 29, 2006 Subandi and Erick Wotulo conspired with others to export state-of-the-art firearms, machine guns and ammunition, surface to air missiles, night vision goggles and other military weapons to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers) operating within Sri Lanka, to be used to fight against Sri Lankan government forces. The conspirators contacted an undercover business located in Maryland about the sale of military weapons.
Subandi and Wotulo aided in the acquisition and proposed delivery of military technology to the Tamil Tigers by requesting price quotes and negotiating the purchases. Subandi sent an itemized list of 53 military weapons, including sniper rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers that he wanted to acquire for the Tamil Tigers.
On June 7, 2006 Subandi emailed the undercover business that Tamil Tigers is a terrorist organization and is “sealed off by the US Government and the EU countries as terrorist.” In July, a conspirator met with undercover agents in Baltimore to inspect and test-fire some of the weapons.
Central to the plan to acquire arms and munitions for the Tamil Tigers was the international wire transfer on August 2, 2006 of $250,000 into an undercover bank account in Maryland. This transfer was a down payment for the arms, and the conduct is reflected in the money laundering charge contained in count three of the superseding indictment. An additional $452,000 payment was transferred on September 28, 2006 for the arms.
In September 2006, Subandi repeatedly met with undercover agents in Guam, and discussed current and future sales of weapons and other technology to the Tamil Tigers and to other customers. He was arrested on September 28, 2006.
Attempt to Export Arms to Indonesia; Money Laundering
On September 24, 2006 Subandi, Rinehard Rusli and Helmi Soedirdja contacted undercover agents to acquire monocular night vision devices and a holographic weapons sight from the United States to the Indonesia. On August 31, 2006 Rusli and Soedirdja transmitted $2,950 from Indonesia to the United States to obtain the items which contain military technology that cannot be exported without a license or written authorization from the State Department. Subandi, Rusli and Soedirdja arrived in Guam from Indonesia on September 21, 2006, and subsequently met with undercover agents to examine the night vision devices. They also discussed the future acquisition of additional military use technology items. Satisfied with the night vision devices and holographic weapons sight, Rusli and Soedirdja placed the items in their luggage and traveled to the airport in Guam to return to Indonesia. They were detained at the airport by ICE agents and the devices were recovered from their luggage. Subandi stayed in Guam to attend matters relating to the arms acquisition for the Tamil Tigers.
Haniffa Bin Osman, age 56, a citizen of the Republic of Singapore, and Wotulo, age 59, a citizen of the Republic of Indonesia, and a retired Indonesian Marine Corps General, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and money laundering. They face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for conspiracy to provide material support and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for money laundering. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled their sentencings for early 2008.
Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, age 37, a citizen of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization and attempted exportation of arms and munitions. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled his sentencing for January 3, 2008.
Founded in 1976, the Tamil Tigers has advocated the violent overthrow of the Sri Lankan government, employing acts of violence, including suicide bombings, against both civilian and military targets. Approximately 200 such attacks have been attributed to the Tamil Tigers to date. The Tamil Tigers relies heavily upon supporters throughout the world to raise and launder money, acquire intelligence and purchase military use technology. The U.S. Department of State designated the Tamil Tigers as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in1997. As such, the Tamil Tigers cannot legally raise money or procure operational equipment in the United States.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Baltimore City Police Department for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Maryland James G. Warwick, and Harry M. Gruber, who are prosecuting the case; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Harvey Eisenberg, Chief of National Security, who is supervising the case.