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US Department of Justice confirms arrests of Peter Biar Ajak, Abraham Chol

The US Justice Department confirms the arrests of Peter Biar Ajak and Abraham Chol Keech for conspiring to illegally export weapons to South Sudan, discussing disguising the arms as humanitarian aid and paying bribes for smuggling, and facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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The US Justice Department has confirmed the arrests of Peter Biar Ajak and Abraham Chol Keech, charging them with conspiring to purchase and illegally export millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to South Sudan, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA).

The federal criminal complaint alleges that Keech and Ajak sought to unlawfully smuggle heavy weapons, including fully automatic rifles, grenade launchers, and Stinger missile systems, from the United States to South Sudan. South Sudan is subject to a UN arms embargo due to ongoing violence between armed groups.


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The defendants are accused of openly discussing the illegality of the transaction, expressing the need for discretion, and agreeing to pay a risk fee for the weapons due to the illegal nature of the arms sale. They also discussed disguising the weapons as humanitarian aid and paying bribes to facilitate the smuggling scheme.

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If convicted, both defendants face up to 20 years in prison for conspiring to violate the AECA, up to 20 years for conspiring to violate the ECRA, and up to 10 years for smuggling goods from the United States. The Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations, along with other agencies, are investigating the case, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuting the case.

Read the full statement of the US Department of Justice.

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