By Shahriar Kia
A New Jersey woman has pled guilty in Newark Federal Court on Tuesday to her part in a scheme to illegally smuggle thousands of aircraft parts to Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Joyce Eliabachus, also known as Joyce Marie Gundran Manangan, could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for helping to smuggle over $2 million in components in the space of two and a half years.
Brian Michael, Homeland Security Investigations Newark special agent in charge, said: “For over two years, Eliabachus illegally engaged in aircraft component sales to Iran, a nation listed by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism. This potentially endangered US security, particularly as one of the Iranian companies sold to, does business with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a military unit tied to terrorist acts around the world.”
Her alleged partner in crime is an Iranian resident named Peyman Amiri Larijani, who faces charges of conspiracy to violate Iranian transactions and sanctions regulations, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States and money laundering.
Larijani, 33, was charged on Tuesday, according to US Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. He was also charged in two separate indictments in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, which was unsealed on June 4.
Special agent in charge Jonathan Carson, of the Office of Export Enforcement, said: “This arrest will cut off a key supplier to a proliferation network which illegally sold U.S. origin items to Iran.”
The pair used a company, Edsun Equipments LLC, that operated from Eliabachus’s home in Morristown to ship these aircraft parts to Iran through Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to disguise the illegal activity, according to the US attorney’s office in Newark.
The duo is said to have shipped over 23,000 parts in 49 separate shipments between May 2015 and October 2017, without the required licenses. This follows a joint investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement.
Several of the Iranian airlines buying the parts have been officially designated as threats to national security or economic interests by the US because of their ties to the Iranian Regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC was recently designated as a terrorist group by the US.
Eliabachus’ sentencing is scheduled for September 24.