Man ac­cused of smug­gling gear to Syria

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Joseph Serna joseph.serna@la­times.com

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.

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