LOS ANGELES (CN) - Federal prosecutors have charged two men for taking part in a scheme to smuggle $3 million in jet fighter aircraft parts to Iran.
Zavik Zargarian, 52, of Glendale, and Vache Nayirian, 57, of Lakeview Terrace were arrested last week and charged in a nine-count indictment with three other defendants for violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR).
The other named defendants are Zargarian's company, ZNC Engineering, and Hanri Terminassian, 55, and Hormoz Nowrouz, 56, both Iranian nationals. Prosecutors believe Terminassian and Nowrouz are in their home country.
A Homeland Security Investigations agent who posed as a military parts supplier helped crack the scheme, according to authorities. Negotiating on Terminassian's behalf, Zargarian sought to buy parts for F-14, F-15, F-16 and F-18 fighter jets for $3.6 million from the agent.
Zargarian and Nayirian are also accused of working in concert with Terminassian and Nowrouz to buy and illegally export 7,000 fluorocarbon rubber O-rings to Iran. According to prosecutors, the rings can be used in aircraft hydraulic systems and landing gear.
"The crimes charged in this indictment are very serious threats to our national security," United States Attorney Eileen Decker said in a statement. "As a nation it is vital that we protect our military technology and prevent it from getting into the hands of other countries without proper authorization."
Zargarian and Nayirian pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on bond last week. Trial is set for Dec. 20 in U.S. District Judge James Otero's courtroom.
If found guilty, Zargarian faces a statutory maximum sentence of 115 years in federal prison, while Nayirian faces a statutory maximum sentence of 95 years in federal prison.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.