Trio including Pa. man charged with sending chemical material to Syria

    A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday charges a Pennsylvania man and two others with conspiring to send chemical warfare detection equipment to Syria, a violation of U.S. sanctions against that country.


    For nearly a decade, the men allegedly shipped lab materials from the United States, including equipment used by police and the military to detect and classify chemical warfare agents.

    The group allegedly used false and misleading invoices that masked what was being sent and what countries were receiving the materials.

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    “In 2004, the U.S. government enacted sanctions against Syria that essentially prohibited the export of any goods to Syria other than medications and food,” said William Walker, assistant special agent in charge with Homeland Security Investigations in Philadelphia.

    “That was essentially done in an effort to shut down the supply chain of goods that were being exploited by the Syrian state to support terrorism,” he said.

    The goods were allegedly sent to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom before being shipped to their final destination in Syria.

    The government has filed a plea deal with Harold Rinker of Susquehanna County, near the New York border. A guilty plea is expected.

    Suspect Ahmad Feras Diri was arrested in London in 2013 and is facing extradition. Diri’s brother, Moawea, the third suspect, is still at large.

    The men were indicted in 2012.

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