Pakistani shipper indicted on trafficking nuclear weapons components
The U.S. government said Friday that a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted Pakistani shipper Humayun A. Khan with conspiring to violate U.S. law for exports controlled for nuclear non-proliferation reasons.
Khan allegedly violated the federal conspiracy statute and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. If convicted on conspiracy, Khan faces a potential 35-year jail sentence and a likely range of 78 to 97 months in prison under the federal sentencing guidelines.
In addition, on Friday, federal authorities announced the unsealing of a guilty plea of Asher Karni, an Israeli national living in Cape Town, South Africa, to five counts of conspiracy and export violations arising out of his illegal exports to Pakistan and India of U.S.-origin commodities controlled for nuclear non-proliferation reasons.
Khan was the owner of Islamabad, Pakistan-based Pakland PME Corp. Karni owned Top-Cape Technology in Cape Town. The two men began shipping illegally unlicensed U.S.-made oscilloscopes in 2002. In mid-2003, they attempted to acquire and illegally ship triggered spark gaps to Pakistan.
In July 2003, an anonymous source informed agents of the Commerce Department’s Office of Export Enforcement and the Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement about the suspicious shipments of Khan and Karni.
On Dec. 11, 2003, U.S. and South African agents carried out search warrants. On Jan. 1, 2004, agents arrested Karni as he entered the United States at Denver airport. On Sept. 14, he pled guilty under seal to five federal felonies, including conspiracy to export controlled nuclear technology items to Pakistan. He also agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.