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Missile sting defendant gets 5 years in US prison

Written by: Staff
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LOS ANGELES, Apr 4 (Reuters) A Pakistani man who conspired with two others to sell shoulder-launched missiles to al Qaeda or the Taliban has been sentenced to nearly five years in a US federal prison after an international sting operation.

Muhammed Abid Afridi pleaded guilty in 2004 to federal charges of plotting to supply terrorists with four Stinger missiles through the sale of heroin and hashish.

The conspiracy relates to a September 2002 sting by undercover FBI agents who followed the three from Pakistan to Hong Kong. The men were arrested in Hong Kong and later extradited to San Diego, where the sting had begun as a routine drug investigation.

US District Court Judge M James Lorenz in San Diego on Monday sentenced Afridi to 57 months in prison.

Afridi lived in Pakistan, as did one of his co-conspirators, Syed Mustajab Shah. The third man, Ilyas Ali, was born in India and lived in Minnesota. Shah and Ali have pleaded guilty to the same charges and are due to be sentenced next week.

According to prosecutors, the three told undercover agents at their meetings that they intended to sell the missiles to members of the Taliban or al Qaeda.

REUTERS SBJ BS2340

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