Thanks to a scrupulous gun dealer who tipped off authorities, four individuals from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are being investigated for an apparent plot to smuggle $100,000 worth of firearms illegally into Lebanon.
Federal agents busted Bassem Afif Herz, Ali Afif Al Herz, Sarah Majid Zeaiter and Adam Ben Ali Al Herz this month and on Tuesday all four appeared in court, facing charges for conspiracy to deliver “a package to a common carrier without providing written notice that firearms and ammunition are contained therein.”
Should they be found guilty, they can be sentenced up to five years in prison, along with three years of supervised release and forced to pay a $250,000 fine.
A licensed firearms dealer contacted authorities when he witnessed the four suspects buying a large cache of guns and ammunition over a period of about 17 months.
In total, the crew purchased 113 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition, and on several occasions bought all the 5.7 mm ammo the dealer had in stock. The haul was valued at over $100,000.
To ship the guns and ammo overseas, the suspects were loading the supplies in Bobcat skid loaders from the Midamar Corporation and concealing them in “Pizza Daddy” plastic bags. Authorities also noticed that there were other shipments to Lebanon that included “water equipment,” “a bulldozer,” “front-end loader” and an “SUV.”
The obvious question is to whom the guns were ultimately being sent to. Were they destined for radicals, terrorists, government separatists? The answer to that question is not yet clear.
For more on this story, check out KWWL.