WASHINGTON — A US-based Iraqi pleaded guilty to terror charges for conspiring to kill Americans in Iraq and smuggle Stinger missiles to insurgents, the Justice Department said Monday.
Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, had been arrested in Kentucky in May with an Iraqi co-defendant, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 24, capping a lengthy sting.
Alwan pleaded guilty to all counts of a 23-count indictment, the Justice Department said. Hammadi, however, maintains he is innocent of all charges.
“The successful investigation, arrest, interrogation and prosecution of Mr. Alwan demonstrates the effectiveness of our intelligence and law enforcement authorities in bringing terrorists to justice and preventing them from harming the American people,” said Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
Alwan faces a maximum punishment of life in prison when he is sentenced April 3, in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
A trial date for Hammadi, who also faces life in prison if convicted on all counts, has yet to be set.
The two were indicted by a grand jury on charges which included seeking to supply inert Stinger missiles, rocket propelled grenades and other weapons for operations they believed were destined for Iraq.
The charges also included conspiracy to kill US nationals abroad, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction against US nationals abroad, distributing information on making and using explosive devices, and conspiracy to export Stinger missiles, the Justice Department said.
Alwan, who was being charged for crimes that occurred both in Iraq and the United States, entered the United States in April 2009 and moved to Bowling Green.
Hammadi came to the United States a few months later in July 2009, and also moved to Bowling Green after a short time in Las Vegas.
Within months, both men were under FBI surveillance in September 2009. In August 2010, the FBI began using a confidential informant with Alwan, and in January 2011, Hammadi also started talking to an informant.
Alwan allegedly told the informant of his activities as an insurgent in Iraq from 2003, including using Improvised Explosive Devices (IED)s hundreds of times and sniper rifles to target US forces, until he was captured by the Iraqis in 2006.