Two men were indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle late Wednesday for three federal felonies in connection with their scheme to smuggle dozens of firearms to Turkey and Iraq in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes in a news release.
Paul Stuart Brunt, 51, of Bellevue and Rawnd Khaleel Aldalawi, 29, of Seattle, were arrested on a criminal complaint Jan. 24. They will be arraigned on the indictment on Feb. 8.
According to records filed in the case, between October 2016 and November 2017, Brunt and Aldalawi allegedly engaged in a scheme to smuggle firearms from the U.S. to people associated with the Peshmerga military in Kurdistan, a part of Iraq.
Brunt allgedly purchased the firearms at gun stores and gun shows around the Puget Sound region. The men then attempted to ship the guns from the Port of Seattle through Turkey and on to Iraq, hidden in the side panels of vehicles.
In the first shipment in February 2017, some 30 guns were hidden in three cars. In the second shipment in November 2017, 47 firearms were concealed in two vehicles. That second shipment was discovered by authorities in Turkey, and the shipment was traced back to Brunt and Aldalawi. The men had not obtained any export licenses for the firearms and allgedly smuggled them in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
The conspiracy is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Violating the Arms Export Control Act is punishable by 20 years of imprisonment.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Woods. The U.S. Department of Justice National Security Division is assisting with the prosecution.