ICE Nabs Two for Illegal Exports to Iran, Syria

(ICE) ICE agents have arrested two men in separate cases for attempting to illegally export items to Middle Eastern countries.

In the first case, Juan Sevilla, a suburban Los Angeles sales director for a manufacturing company, was indicted March 2 on federal charges for allegedly attempting to send industrial equipment to Iran in violation of the U.S. export embargo on goods to that country.

Sevilla, 53, of Gardena, Calif., is sales director and was previously director of international sales for United Calibration Corp., of Huntington Beach, Calif., which manufactures universal testing systems and related software technologies. Sevilla attempted to export a hydraulic testing machine designed to test and calibrate the tensile strength of steel from California through Chicago and ultimately to Iran.

In the second case, Matt Mihsen, 47, of Dallas, Texas was indicted March 1 for attempting to export money and goods from the United States to Syria without authority, permit or license. He was also charged with attempting to smuggle over $10,000 in U.S. currency from the United States to Syria and with making false statements to federal agents.

Mihsen was born in Syria and is a naturalized United States citizen. He is a licensed private investigator and a licensed pilot.

The indictment alleges that on February 15, Mihsen flew on a commercial flight from Dallas, Texas, to Detroit, Mich.; his ultimate destination was Damascus, Syria. Mihsen checked his luggage in Dallas, planning to retrieve it in Syria. An outbound inspection of his luggage at Detroit Metropolitan Airport revealed that he was attempting to export certain items to Syria, including a hand-held Taser stun device; two boxes of Black Talon 9mm ammunition; a Bushnell .22 rifle scope; pepper spray; a diamond tester; a bullet-proof vest; and three Geiger counters.

The indictment also alleges that Mihsen knowingly concealed and failed to declare $13,256 in U.S. currency he was carrying, and that he lied to ICE agents when they questioned him about the money.