Hallstead man linked to illegal Syrian exports

BY STACI WILSON

A Hallstead man faces allegations that he, along with two others, illegally exported chemical laboratory equipment to Syria.

Harold Rinko, 72, owner of Global Parts Supply, previously waived his arraignment on a sealed indictment returned by a Scranton grand jury on Nov. 20, 2012, according to a Wednesday, April 23 release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In addition to Rinko, brothers, Ahmad Feras Diri, 39, of London, United Kingdom, and Moawea Deri, 36, a Syrian citizen were also charged.

Ahmad Diri was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in London on March 14 and is facing extradition to the United States. Moawea Diri remains at large and is considered a fugitive.

The men face charges of wire fraud, illegal export of goods, money laundering and false statements.

Prosecutors said Rinko conspired with Diri and Moawea to bypass federal laws regulating the export of goods to Syria from 2003 until the indictment in 2012. A license from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Export Adminstration is required to export goods and services from the U.S. to Syrian, other than humanitarian relief of food and medicine.

According to the indictment, items allegedly shipped included: a portable gas scanner used in the detection of chemical warfare agents; a handheld instrument for field detection of chemical warfare agents and toxic chemicals; a rubber mask for civil defense against chemicals and gases; a meter used to measure chemicals and their composition; a stirrer for mixing and testing chemical compounds; industrial engines; and a device used to locate buried pipeline.

False invoices that undervalued and mislabeled goods were prepared, with false information as to the identity of the identity and geographic location of the purchasers, according to the release.

The indictment alleges the items were shipped from the United States to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom and then transferred to Syria.

According to the release, the government has filed a plea agreement with Rinko which is subject to court approval. Details of the agreement were not immediately made available.

Homeland Securities Investigations partnered with the Dept. of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement for the investigation.

“HIS will use all resources at its disposal to prevent sensitive and restricted technology from being exported to Syria through the black market,” Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan of HIS Philadelphia. “No good comes of illegal exports to Syria during this time of gross misgovernment and civil strife, and HIS will do all in its power as the principal enforcer of export controls to ensure that sensitive technology doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.”

The case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd K. Hinkley and Mariclaire Rourke, trial attorney with the Dept. of Justice, National Security Division, Counterespionage Section.