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Press Release

Four Indicted on Gun Charges Related to Scheme to Ship Guns to Lebanon

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

Ali Afif Al Herz, age 50, Bassem Afif Herz, age 30, Sarah Majid Zeaiter, age 24, and Adam Al Herz, age 22, all from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have been charged in a 46 Count indictment filed yesterday in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.

Ali Afif Al Herz is charged with 24 counts of possessing firearms after having been previously convicted of domestic abuse.

Bassem Afif Herz is charged with conspiracy.

Sarah Zeaiter is charged with three counts of making false claims to United States citizenship on bank records and federal firearms forms.

Adam Al Herz is charged with 17 counts of possessing firearms as an unlawful drug user.

Additionally, each defendant is charged with conspiracy to: engage in the business of dealing in firearms; ship and transport firearms in interstate commerce as part of such dealings; fail to notify common carriers of the existence of firearms and ammunition in interstate shipments; and, making false statements and representations on firearms transaction records.  The defendants are also charged with conspiring to engage in money laundering.

Each false claim to citizenship charge is punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment.  Each unlawful possession of firearms charge is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.  The firearms conspiracy charge is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.  The money laundering conspiracy charge is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment.   

In addition to the potential terms of imprisonment, each defendant faces a term of supervised release to follow imprisonment, plus a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.  The indictment also seeks to forfeit all guns and ammunition involved in the criminal conduct.      

The arraignment on the indictment for Adam Al Herz is set for June 17, 2015, at 1:30 p.m.  The arraignment on the indictment for the other three defendants is set for June 16, 2015, at 1:30 p.m.

As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard L. Murphy and was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Court file information available:  The case file number is 15-CR-00054.

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Updated June 12, 2015