Alabama man charged with smuggling goods to Iran
Published 9:13 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2022
An Alabama man was charged Tuesday with illegally exporting American goods into Iran, breaking U.S. sanctions with the Middle Eastern country.
An indictment was unsealed Tuesday charging Ray Hunt, 69, of Madison County, with federal offenses related to an illegal scheme to export U.S.-origin goods to Iran.
The 15-count indictment charges the defendant with conspiracy to defraud the United States, sanctions violations, smuggling goods from the United States, and submitting false or misleading export information.
According to the indictment, since at least November 2017, the defendant conspired to export U.S.-origin parts used in the oil and gas industry, including control valves and oil tubing, through his Alabama-based company, Vega Tools LLC, to customers in Iran. The defendant transshipped the goods to Iran through Turkey and the UAE to evade U.S. sanctions.
Hunt was arrested and made his initial court appearance earlier today. If convicted, Hunt faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and up to a $1 million fine for violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. In addition, he faces up to five years for the conspiracy charge, 10 years for the smuggling offense, and up to five years for the false information offense. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona for the Northern District of Alabama and Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement (OEE) Miami Office made the announcement.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security investigated the case in coordination with the FBI.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Cornelius and Jonathan “Jack” Harrington of the Northern District of Alabama and Trial Attorneys Emma Dinan Ellenrieder and Adam P. Barry of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.