A retired U.S. Air Force colonel charged in the 1980s in an Iran-Contra related weapons smuggling case has been indicted in a U.S. federal court inMiami with conspiring with an Israeli aeronautics engineer to illegally export 2,000 AK-47s to Somalia.
The June 17 indictment against Joseph O’Toole, 79, now based in Claremont, California, was unsealed today. POLITICO earlier Monday reportedon the indictment of his Israeli co-defendant, Chanoch Miller. Miller, an Israeli citizen and former executive Israeli defense firm Radom Aviation, was arrested in Miami on June 18th and his indictment was unsealed on June 21.
O’Toole , then described as a Santa Ana-based aviation consultant, was charged in 1989 with conspiring with a controversial Israeli self-described former Mossad agent, Ari Ben-Menashe, and a Connecticut resident Richard St. Francis, with trying to sell three U.S. C-130 air cargo planes toIran. But the charges against O’Toole were dropped in 1991 during the first Gulf War.
Beginning in April, according to the indictment, Miller and O’Toole conspired to obtain and transport hundreds of AK-47s from Bosnia to the northern Somalian city of Banderal, using false end user certificates of Chad, in violation of U.S. arms export control laws. Somalia is under a U.N. arms embargo. But the transport services source they contacted turned out to be an informant for the U.S. Customs and Immigrations Enforcement (ICE) agency, the indictment describes.
On June 15, 2010, the indictment states, Miller wired $116,000 from an Israeli bank to a Broward County, Florida Wells Fargo branch to pay for the weapons and air transport as well as a $2,000 commission for O’Toole, the seven-count indictment said.
The case against Miller and O’Toole was brought by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo Ferrer and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Walleisa.
Source: Politio By: Laura Rozen
June 28, 2010 06:23 PM EDT
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