Broussard man pleads guilty to attempting to illegally ship guns, ammunition to Lebanon
LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a Broussard man pleaded guilty to trying to illegally ship firearms, ammunition and other military grade items to Lebanon.
Joe Ali Youssef, 54, of Broussard, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik to one count of delivery of firearms to common carrier for interstate and foreign shipment without notification. According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducted a random examination of two containers on April 17, 2014. Upon further inspection, agents found four pistols, two rifles, a shotgun, more than 8,000 rounds of various caliber ammunition, body armor, military items and other firearms accessories hidden inside secret compartments within household furniture. Records showed that the containers were to be shipped to an address near Beirut, Lebanon. Youssef is a naturalized citizen of the United States, originally born in Beirut, Lebanon. Youssef had an airline ticket booked to travel around the time the shipment was scheduled to arrive in Lebanon. Youssef provided the shipping company with a detailed list of the contents of the containers to be shipped, but the list did not include the hidden firearms, ammo and military items. The containers were set to export from the port in Houston, Texas, and the shipping company never received notification that the shipment contained firearms, ammunition and military items. Agents searched Youssef’s Broussard home and found more firearms and ammunition as well as records between himself and the shipping company.
Youssef faces up to five years in prison, three years supervised release, a $250,000 fine and forfeiture of the items seized during the investigation. A sentencing date was not set.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI and ATF conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Myers P. Namie is prosecuting the case.