A Canadian man has been arrested in Washington state for attempting to smuggle weapons in Lebanon hidden inside a vehicle. Two men were arrested in Seattle by undercover Homeland Security agents when they tried to stash a grenade launcher and firearms inside the door panels of an SUV they planned to ship to Lebanon.
A Canadian, Nafez El Mir, and a Lebanese man, Hicham Diab, were arrested after an almost two-year operation following a tip-off. The informant was enlisted to make a number of calls to Diab, who owns a gun store in Tripoli, handing him off to Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents posing as contacts. They subsequently arranged for the sale of weapons for illegal shipment to Lebanon. The years-long operation came to a head in early November.
In a statement, the Department of Justice explained that:
“In October 2018, Diab made plans to come to the U.S. and successfully wired funds for the purchase of firearms and a vehicle in which to hide the firearms, Diab arrived in Seattle on November 7, and was accompanied by El Mir who, according to Diab, had experience smuggling firearms hidden in automobile panels.”
According to a statement from the Department of Justice, the suspects were shown a large selection of weapons by undercover HSI and ATF agents, including “twenty Glock handguns, a Smith & Wesson .50 revolver, one FN Fiveseven pistol, an AR15 rifle kit, and an M203 grenade launcher.” The two men then began to hide these weapons in the doors and bumpers of a vehicle, at which point agents arrested them for conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act.
The charge of conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and the case continues to be investigated by HSI and the ATF.