Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Agents: Gun-smuggling suspect Hezbollah sympathizer ~ By Grant Rogers

Law enforcement officials at Midamar, 1105 60th Avenue SW, during a federal investigation in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.
(Photo: Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
On March 26 and May 8 authorities searched shipping containers connected to a company called Herz Enterprises, finding 152 guns and thousands of rounds of ammo hidden inside shipments of Bobcat skid loaders.

The hearing shed new light on the DHS investigation into the family, revealing that Ali Herz reportedly confessed after his arrest Tuesday to organizing two shipments of guns to Lebanon in 2014 and another in 2015.

Special agent Daniel Tigges testified that Herz said in an interview that he expected after the third shipment that the group would have netted $380,000 from the smuggling operation.

Tigges said Herz claimed he took half the profits and split the rest with his son, Adam, and brother, Bassem.

"He admitted that he knew it was wrong to ship guns out of the country," he said.
From the Time 2 Escape Editor

While this story covers the who (the four that were arrested), and the where (it happened right here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa), it doesn't cover the "why" or the "what," maybe for good reason. From this story, we only know that many guns and large quantities of ammo were being illegally shipped to Lebanon. We don't know if it was just for profit on the part of the Herz family and others. We also haven't been told here what the ultimate use of the weapons and ammunition could be, and who the ultimate buyers are. It's possible that the Federal agents are keeping that information from the press... or maybe, they don't know, but I really doubt that.

Even if the four that were arrested last week in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, were shipping the weapons and ammunition to Lebanon only because they love all the money they're going to make (they thought, until they got caught), is it still possible that they knew that the weapons would end up in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists? It is surprising to me, actually, that we haven't yet heard of any charges for aiding the enemy. Just sayin'...


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Agents: Gun-smuggling suspect Hezbollah sympathizer
By Grant Rogers, The Des Moines Register

May 15, 2015, 10:39 p.m. EDT


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The eldest of four Cedar Rapids family members accused of smuggling firearms into Lebanon is a Hezbollah sympathizer who met with reported members of the terrorist group during a trip abroad, federal agents testified Friday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy called six witnesses to paint Ali Afif Al Herz as loyal to the Lebanese-based Shiite militant and political organization. The United States has classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Murphy intended the testimony from agents with the Department of Homeland Security and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to persuade Chief Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles to keep Herz, 50, in county jail while awaiting trial on charges that he and three other family members tried to smuggle hundreds of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition into Lebanon, hiding it in storage containers.

Clockwise from top left, Adam Ben Ali Al Herz, 22; Ali Afif Al Herz, 50; Sarah Majid Zeaiter, 24 ; and Bassem Afif Herz, 29.
(Photo: Special to the Register)

Defense lawyer Anne Laverty accused Murphy of using "distraction and fear tactics" with no supporting evidence that ties Herz to any terrorist group. Herz came to the United States in 1984 for college and gave up on religion after watching decades of strife in Lebanon and the Middle East, she said.

~~~ READ MORE at USATODAY.com ~~~

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