By Seth Richardson
The blogosphere is buzzing with reports that an Iranian illegal alien was caught trying to smuggle a “huge cache of arms” across the U.S.-Canadian border into the United States late last month, which is absolutely false, and the complaint is being loudly stated by the blogosphere that the mainstream press has been ignoring the incident, which is absolutely true.
Problem is, it’s worse than even the blogosphere thinks it is. Part of the problem is the blogosphere itself, which evidently didn’t bother to carefully read the original story from the Yamhill Valley News Register in McMinnville, Oregon. On May 28, 2010, Reporter Paul Daquilante wrote an article “Arms cache tied to Mac” about one Hamid Malekpour, AKA Oliver King, a Canadian resident, who was arrested by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Ferndale, Washington, just inside the U.S. border, in possession of a large cache of military-style weapons and ammunition, on May 26th.
Pursuant to a federal warrant, agents searched a storage facility where they had arrested Malekpour/King, and found, according to Daquilante, “… a .50-caliber sniper rifle, two .308-caliber sniper rifles, three .300-caliber sniper rifles, eight law enforcement style .223-caliber rifles, three Glock semi-automatic handguns, 100 .223-caliber magazines, 3,800 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition, various high-powered scopes and other equipment.”
Malekpour, who may have held a Canadian gun dealer’s license at one time, had been under surveillance by ICE after he lied to border agents while trying to cross into the U.S. at the Blaine, Washington border station near Vancouver, Canada on May 25th. A search discovered a passport with his AKA of Oliver King that Malekpour claimed had been destroyed in the washing machine that bore two entry visas to Iran, one of which was still valid. The passport he presented to border officials, also bearing the name Oliver King, had been issued that day. ICE agents became suspicious and tailed him. When he did not pick up his wife at a Target store near Bellingham, as he claimed was his business in the U.S., they followed him to a gun store in McMinnville, Oregon. Lying to federal border officials about the purpose of one’s visit to the U.S. is a felony, which made his entry illegal.
This gun store, open only by appointment, is in a building owned by one Amir Zarandi. Daquilante writes, “Much of the weaponry was packed into boxes bearing shipping labels addressed to McMinnville Hunting & Police Supplies Inc., the [federal search warrant] affidavit states. The obscure business, located in a shuttered, unsigned office at 1900 N.E. Highway 99W, is owned by Amir Zarandi.” He goes on to write, “Yamhill County Sheriff’s Capt. Ken Summers said he’d never heard of the business, and knew of no one in the department who had… According to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, a federal firearms license has been issued to someone at the address of the McMinnville gun shop, presumably Zarandi.”
ICE agents watched Malekpour load the weapons in his car, and then they followed him back to the storage unit in Ferndale, Wa., where they arrested him for two felonies; lying to federal officers (about his purpose for traveling to the U.S.) and being in possession of firearms as an illegal alien.
Good for ICE, they did their job and cracked what may be an Islamic terrorists munitions supply network.
Contrary to Blogowisdom, it’s not likely that Malekpour/King was smuggling guns out of Canada into the United States, because every firearm seized by ICE is illegal in Canada, but not in the U.S.
What is much more likely is that Malekpour/King is part of a covert terrorists supply network acquiring arms in the U.S. for terrorist acts within the U.S. It’s much easier to buy such weapons inside the U.S. by opening a false-front gun store using a shill to obtain a federal firearms license than it is to try to smuggle weapons across the border.
The “sniper rifles” and other military-style semi-automatic weapons, including a .50 caliber BMG rifle of some sort, can then be moved from the gun store into hiding, for eventual use by terrorists infiltrated across the border. This would be the preferred method of obtaining arms, because they would be ostensibly “legally” obtained by a licensed FFL dealer such as “Amir Zarandi,” who is likely to be a legal U.S. citizen and sympathizer willing to lend his identity to the necessary federal paperwork to obtain the firearms dealer license. So long as the weapons remained in the inventory of the dealer, even an inspection by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would not reveal the plot, because as long as the paperwork was correct, there’s nothing illegal about stockpiling weapons like this, nor should there be, unless one is doing it with criminal intent.
But the movement of the arms by Malekpour/King from the shop to a storage facility indicates that a plot for an attack of some kind is likely underway, because once moved from the “legal” inventory of the dealer without a proper transfer, which couldn’t be made to Malekpour/King because he is not a legal resident alien, the arms became contraband. This means that the false-front gun store had served its purpose and could be abandoned, because if the BATFE came to inspect the records (which is highly unlikely, as the BATFE does not have the manpower to inspect all gun dealers regularly) the missing firearms would immediately raise questions. It’s likely that whomever the FFL was issued to is long gone to Iran or has gone underground.
All this points to a plot in motion to distribute the arms to Islamic terrorists and use them in an attack sometime in the near future.
So, far from an attempt at smuggling arms from Canada into the U.S., what ICE may well have interrupted is a plot to arm Islamic terrorists for an attack somewhere in the United States, which is a far more serious matter than simply smuggling guns.
Our northern border, in point of fact, poses a much higher risk of actual terrorist infiltration than our southern, as this incident demonstrates. While the southern border is porous, the immigration policies of Canada are so liberal that it’s relatively easy for Muslim terrorists to legally become Canadian citizens, and therefore be issued valid Canadian passports, which facilitates their entry into the US, as Malekpour/King demonstrates.
It’s worth remembering that back in 2000, only through the actions of a supremely-observant Customs Inspector, Diana Dean, at the then-highly vulnerable ferry terminal at Port Angeles, Washington, was the “Millenium Terrorist” Ahmed Ressam, stopped from perpetrating a huge catastrophe. Ressam, who tried to smuggle a bomb through customs in the trunk of his car in order to set it off at Los Angeles International Airport during the Millennium, and one of his conspirators Mohktar Haouarim are serving 22 and 25 year prison sentences for their crimes.
Here’s hoping that the Department of Homeland Security, ICE, the BATFE and other federal agencies are vigorously interrogating Malepour and Zarandi right this very minute, so they can roll up the entire terrorist network.
Good work ICE!
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