Macon man key supplier in Iranian military aircraft conspiracy - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Macon man key supplier in Iranian aircraft conspiracy

Hamid Seifi Hamid Seifi

Federal authorities bust a worldwide operation that exported military aircraft parts to Iran... and part of that operation was based in Georgia.

A Macon man pleaded guilty to supplying parts for Iranian Air Force jets and attack helicopters.

Federal authorities say those aircraft could endanger the American military.

It's an amazing story. This conspiracy ran from the United States to France, the United Arab Emirates, and finally in Iran. The U.S. Attorney's office says Michael Todd of Macon used his company at Macon's airport, The Parts Guys, as a key part of the supply chain.

Federal authorities from the U.S. Attorney's office, FBI, Homeland Security, and the Commerce Department unsealed an indictment accusing seven people and five corporations around the world with helping Iran maintain their air force. They say Michael Todd of Macon was a key supplier.

U.S. Attorney for Middle Georgia Michael Moore said "Even here in Middle Georgia, we have people who are willing to make a profit at the expense of the safety of the American people."

The feds say Todd and Iranian born U.S. national Hamid Seifi from St. Charles, Illinois would buy and supply the parts, which were then shipped through several nations to bypass the boycott against Iran.

 Moore said "Iran desperately needs spare parts for it's aging fleet of aircraft. Including components for the F-4, F-5, and F-14 fighter jets and various military helicopters supplied to Iran. These were supplied by the United States prior to the 1979 revolution."

Those parts would be anything from bolts and screws, to weapons ordinance. The feds said Iranian components have been found in roadside bombs used against American troops in Iraq.

 FBI Special Agent in Charge Atlanta Division Brian Lamkin said "It can be very damaging to our military, and to our economy."

Moore said "What is important to us is we not simply cut off the branch of the tree, but look to stop it at the source."

Authorities say Todd has been doing this business since 2008. He was arrested last year, and has now pled guilty, but has not been sentenced. They say the investigation continues across the world, and more arrests are expected.

Seifi from Illinois pleaded guilty and was sentenced yesterday to 56 months in prison.

Two people from France,  two from Iran, and one from the United Arab Emirates are also charged in the conspiracy.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.  

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