Man pleads guilty in the US to conspiracy to Hezbollah drone parts export
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A Lebanese man has pleaded guilty in federal court in Minnesota to conspiring to export drone parts and technology from the US to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
US Attorney Erica H. MacDonald said this week that Usama Hamade, 55, pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally export goods and technology.
His brother, Issam Hamade, pleaded guilty in March in federal court in Minnesota.
Prosecutors said the brothers acquired sophisticated technology for drones from 2009 to 2013 and illegally exported them to Hezbollah, which the US considers a terrorist organization.
The Hamades were arrested in February 2018 in South Africa and were extradited to the US last fall.
According to an indictment, the parts included inertial measurement units, which can be used to track an aircraft’s position, and digital compasses, which can be paired with the inertial measurement units for drone guidance systems. The parts also included a jet engine and 20 piston engines.
Issam Hamade has admitted that his brother arranged to purchase parts and technology from various countries, including the US, from 2009 to 2011. He also admitted that he transferred money from Lebanon to accounts in South Africa at his brother’s request, knowing the money was being used to buy these parts.