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Arms dealer convicted in LA of trying to buy, sell missiles

Posted at 8:33 PM, Nov 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 21:33:30-05

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Authorities say a black-market arms dealer who tried to buy anti-aircraft missiles and sell them to clients in the Middle East has been convicted of conspiracy in Los Angeles.

Rami Asad-Ghanem was convicted Thursday and faces 25 years to life in prison.

Authorities say Ghanem, who’s a naturalized U.S. citizen, conspired to transfer missiles to customers around the world. They say in one case, he arranged to hire mercenaries to operate missiles for a Libyan militant group.

Following a tip from a Los Angeles military supply firm, authorities arranged a sting operation, and Ghanem was arrested in Athens in 2015 after trying to buy sniper rifles and other military equipment.

Ghanem pleaded guilty last month to other federal crimes including smuggling and money laundering. He awaits sentencing on those charges.