Man accused of smuggling gear to Syria
The CEO of an O.C. check-cashing business exported tactical gear to rebels, prosecutors allege.
The chief executive of a check-cashing business in Orange County was arrested Tuesday on charges that he violated U.S. sanctions and exported rifle scopes and other tactical equipment to Syrian rebels, federal prosecutors announced.
Rasheed Al Jijakli, 56, a Walnut resident born in Syria, was indicted on three counts of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and smuggling. According to the indictment, unsealed after Jijakli’s arrest, he, two other Americans and a Canadian are suspected of working with people in Syria to smuggle in dozens of night-vision scopes, laser boresights, bulletproof vests, tactical flashlights and other equipment from January 2012 to February 2013.
Jijakli and his accomplices would fly to Turkey, then cross on foot into Syria with the items, the indictment said. The group allegedly used money from Jijakli’s business, Orange Check Cashing, to buy the equipment from businesses in California, Arizona and Arkansas. If convicted, Jijakli faces up to 50 years in prison.