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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 16, 2018

Two Men Arrested And Charged With Illegally Exporting UAV Parts And Technology To Hizballah

A third defendant charged in the conspiracy remains at large

United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker today announced the indictment of USAMA DARWICH HAMADE, 53, SAMIR AHMED BERRO, 64, and ISSAM DARWICH HAMADE, 55, for conspiring to illegally export goods and technology from the United States to Lebanon and to Hizballah in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”), the Export Administration Regulations, and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Defendants USAMA HAMADE and ISSAM HAMADE are currently in custody in South Africa. SAMIR AHMED BERRO remains at large.

According to the Indictment, from 2009 through December 2013, USAMA HAMADE, BERRO and ISSAM HAMADE willfully conspired to export and attempted to export from the United States to Lebanon, and specifically to Hizballah, goods and technology without obtaining the required export licenses from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State, in violation of IEEPA, the Export Administration Regulations, the Arms Export Control Act, and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

According to the Indictment, USAMA HAMADE, BERRO and ISSAM HAMADE caused the export of inertial measurement units (“IMUs”) suitable for use in unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”), a jet engine, piston engines, and recording binoculars to Hizballah, designated by the U.S. Secretary of State as a “foreign terrorist organization.” As part of the conspiracy, in October 2009, USAMA HAMADE directed Individual A to order the jet engine and have it delivered to SAB Aerospace, a company owned by BERRO in the United Arab Emirates ("UAE"). BERRO then transshipped the jet engine to Hizballah co-conspirators in Lebanon. In September 2009 through November 2009, USAMA HAMADE directed Individual A to place orders for the digital compasses and the IMUs for delivery to South Africa, falsely telling Individual A that the parts would be used in UAVs in South Africa to fly over wildlife areas to prevent poaching. Instead, USAMA HAMADE transshipped the digital compasses and the IMUs to Hizballah co-conspirators in Lebanon.

As part of the conspiracy, in March and May of 2010, USAMA HAMADE directed Individual A to order additional IMUs to be sent to South Africa without telling Individual A that he intended to send the IMUs to Hizballah in Lebanon after receiving them in South Africa. As a consequence,

Individual A obtained an export license from the U.S. Department of State, which permitted the export of the IMUs to South Africa but prohibited their re-export without further authorization. In January 2010, ISSAM HAMADE and USAMA HAMADE directed Individual A to obtain an exhaust system for the jet engine, which was subsequently purchased online by Individual A.

As part of the conspiracy, between November 2009 ·and April 2010, BERRO caused 20 piston engines to be shipped from the U.S. to a temporary recipient in Frankfurt, Germany, and then on to SAB Aerospace in the UAE. From there, BERRO caused the piston engines to be shipped to Hizballah in Lebanon.

As part of the conspiracy, in December 2013, USAMA HAMADE directed Individual B to send the recording binoculars to Lebanon via a courier, who flew from Los Angeles to Beirut, Lebanon, where the binoculars were delivered to Hizballah.

As part of the conspiracy, between 2010 and 2011, ISSAM HAMADE made multiple wire transfers from a bank in Beirut, Lebanon to bank accounts controlled by USAMA HAMADE, totaling approximately $173,924.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Assistant United States Attorneys John Docherty and David MacLaughlin are prosecuting the case.

 

Defendant Information:                                                                                                                     

USAMA DARWICH HAMADE, 53

Citizen of Lebanon and South Africa

Charges:

  • Illegal export conspiracy, 1 count
  • Smuggling, 1 count

 
SAMIR AHMED BERRO, 64
Citizen of Lebanon and the United Kingdom
 
Charges:

  • Illegal export conspiracy, 1 count

 
ISSAM DARWICH HAMADE, 55
Citizen of Lebanon and the United Kingdom
 
Charges:

  • Illegal export conspiracy, 1 count

 
 
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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

 

 

The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Counterintelligence and Export Control
Component(s): 
Updated February 18, 2018