A man pleaded guilty in a scheme to buy thousands of submachine guns and sell them to Iranians opposed to Iran’s president, court records showed.
Under the plea agreement reached this week, Seyed Mostafa Maghloubi, an Iran-born U.S. citizen living in the San Fernando Valley, acknowledged that he attempted to obtain night vision goggles and as many as 100,000 Uzi submachine guns for shipment to Iran, in violation of U.S. laws.
He pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to export arms to Iran without a license, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Maghloubi, 49, was the subject of a sting operation in February, when a person he had reportedly approached about buying the equipment brokered a meeting between him and a police detective that Maghloubi believed was an arms dealer, according to the plea deal.
Maghloubi eventually received three Uzis and a pair of night vision goggles, the court papers show, and intended to ship them to a faction in Iran’s government that is aligned with a former president and political foe of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
By arming an enemy of the Iranian administration, with which the U.S. is politically at odds, Maghloubi was trying “to actually try and help a rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran,” his attorney, Deputy Federal Public Defender Guy Iversen, told the Los Angeles Times.
“This had nothing to do with terrorism,” Iversen said.
Maghloubi’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 26.