WALNUT — A Walnut man plead guilty Tuesday to conspiring to export U.S.-origin tactical gear to Syria. Rasheed Al Jijakli, 57, a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen of Walnut, plead guilty Monday before United States District Judge James V. Selna, a Department of Justice spokesperson said. According to the Justice Department that is in direct violation of U.S. sanctions against Syria,.
“In a plea agreement filed in this case, Jijakli admitted that, from April 2012 through March 2013, he conspired with other individuals to export tactical gear, including U.S.-origin laser boresighters, day- and night-vision rifle scopes, and other items from the United States to Syria,” they said.
In July of 2012, Jijakli and another co-conspirator purchased and traveled with the tactical gear from Los Angeles to Istanbul, Turkey with the intent that it would be provided to Syrian rebels training in Turkey and fighting in Syria, the DOJ reported.
Jijakli provided some of the equipment, specifically the laser boresighters, to a second co-conspirator, a member of Ahrar Al-Sham. Jijakli also provided the goods to other armed Syrian insurgent groups in Syria and Turkey, they said.
Jijakli and his co-conspirators provided at least 43 laser boresighters, 85 day rifle scopes, 30 night-vision rifle scopes, tactical flashlights, a digital monocular, five radios, and a bulletproof vest to Ahrar Al-Sham and other Syrian rebels in Syria, with the knowledge that the tactical gear was earmarked for shipment to Syria.
Thousands of dollars were withdrawn from Palmyra Corporation, a check-cashing services company where Jijakli was the chief executive officer. He used to pay for the tactical gear that got sent to Syrian rebels.
Judge Selna is scheduled to sentence Jijakli on December 4, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in a federal prison.