Man Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Violate U.S. Sanctions Against Syria
SANTA ANA, California – A Walnut man has pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to export U.S.-origin tactical gear to Syria in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and Syria Sanctions.
Rasheed Al Jijakli, 57, a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty Monday before United States District Judge James V. Selna.
In a plea agreement filed in this case, Jijakli admitted that, from April 2012 through March 2013, he conspired with other individuals to export tactical gear, including U.S.-origin laser boresighters, day- and night-vision rifle scopes, and other items from the United States to Syria.
Jijakli and one of the co-conspirators purchased the tactical gear, and on July 17, 2012, Jijakli traveled with the tactical gear from Los Angeles to Istanbul, Turkey with the intent that it would be provided to Syrian rebels training in Turkey and fighting in Syria. Jijakli provided some of the equipment, specifically the laser boresighters, to a second co-conspirator, who Jijakli learned was a member of Ahrar Al-Sham. Jijakli also provided the goods to other armed Syrian insurgent groups in Syria and Turkey.
In total, Jijakli and his co-conspirators provided at least 43 laser boresighters, 85 day rifle scopes, 30 night-vision rifle scopes, tactical flashlights, a digital monocular, five radios, and a bulletproof vest to Ahrar Al-Sham and other Syrian rebels in Syria, or with knowledge that the tactical gear was going to Syria.
Further, in August and September 2012, Jijakli directed co-conspirators to withdraw thousands of dollars from Palmyra Corporation, a check-cashing services company where Jijakli was the chief executive officer, to pay for tactical gear for Syrian rebels.
Judge Selna is scheduled to sentence Jijakli on December 4, at which time he will face a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
This case is the product of an investigation conducted by the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement, and IRS Criminal Investigation.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Takla of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section and DOJ Trial Attorney Christian Ford of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.