A Los Gatos man, with dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, has been arrested in Estonia and extradited to New York on federal felony charges that he tried to buy illegal surface-to-air missiles and airline parts in violation of international trade sanctions and other laws for the government in Tehran.
Reza "Ray" Olangian, 53, was arrested Oct. 10, 2012 and he was extradited to the United
States on March 26, 2013, according to federal prosecutors.
Federal prosecutors allege although Olangian was thwarted in his first attempt to help arm the Iranian military in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, he tried again, this time being caught.
The allegations against Olangian are contained in an indictment that was unsealed on Friday in U.S. District Court in New York.
Federal prosecutors say in 2007, Olangian worked with Iranian officials to obtain
approximately 100 SAMs for use by the Iranian government. Ultimately,
that missile deal was unsuccessful, they noted.
Beginning in early 2012, Olangian worked to negotiate a separate
missile deal, this time with a confidential source working with the DEA
(the “CS”), who purported to be a weapons and aircraft broker, according to federal prosecutors.
base of operations in Tehran from approximately May 2012 through
October 2012, Olangian arranged for the purchase of “IGLA-S” SAMs and
various aircraft components, prosecutors allege.
During a covertly recorded meeting in May 2012, and in subsequent recorded conversations and e-mails with the CS, he described in detail his plans for procuring the SAMs and aircraft parts and then smuggling them over land into Iran, from Afghanistan or from another neighboring country, they said.
Olangian's 2012 negotiations included his participation in a videoconference with the CS, during which he remotely inspected a bona fide SAM, which the CS presented as a sample of the larger quantity of SAMs that he sought to purchase, according to federal prosecutors.
After inspecting the SAM and inquiring about its specifications, Olangian allegedly stated that he would want “at least 200 ... minimum 200” of such SAMs, federal prosecutors said.Following his arrest, Olangian told authorities he had been working with Iranian government officials; that the SAMs he had arranged to purchase were being obtained for the Iranian government; and that the aircraft parts he attempted to acquire were to be used in Iranian military aircraft, according to federal prosecutors.
If convicted, Olangian faces a maximum sentence of life in prison on each of four counts he's facing related to conspiring to acquire and transfer, attempting to acquire and transfer surface-to-air missile systems and conspiring to violate the IEEPA, including a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison on each count.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Sean Buckley and Shane Stansbury are in charge of the prosecution.
Olangian has not yet entered a plea yet in this case.