Calif. Man Pleads Guilty |to Aiding Terrorists

     (CN) – A Syrian-born U.S. citizen who formerly lived in Irvine, Calif., pleaded guilty Friday to smuggling rifle scopes, night-vision goggles, knives, and bulletproof vests to Islamic militants in his native country.
     Amin al-Baroudi, 50, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady in the Alexandria, Va.
In doing so he acknowledged that between December 2011 to March 2013, he and other individuals exported the equipment to Syria to help insurgent groups overthrow the government of President Basher Assad.
     Federal prosecutors said in a statement of facts that accompanied the announcement that the goods were sent to a number of groups, including Ahrar el-Sham, which frequently flights alongside al-Qaida of Syria.
     U.S. sanctions against Syria prohibit the shipment of any goods from the United States to Syria without prior government authorization.
     As part of his plea, al-Baroudi said he and other, unidentified individuals purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, traveled with the goods aboard commercial flights to Turkey, and then either drove them to Syria themselves, or passed them on to others to do so.
     Al-Baroudi is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

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