SAVANNAH, GA:  An Iraqi citizen and Clarkston resident appeared in U.S. District Court in Savannah after his indictment on charges of attempted smuggling of firearms to Iraq, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.

Nihad Al Jaberi, 41, is charged with Smuggling, Failure to Notify a Common Carrier, and Submitting False or Misleading Export Information, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The smuggling charge carries upon conviction a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and substantial financial penalties.

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There is no parole in the federal system.

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Al Jaberi, an Iraqi citizen and legal permanent resident of the United States, was arraigned Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher L. Ray. Al Jaberi previously was ordered detained after a hearing in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Georgia.

As described in court documents and testimony, Al Jaberi is charged with attempting to export three handguns and six .308-caliber long-range rifles in a shipment in which the contents were listed as “71 Pieces of Spare Auto Parts with No License Required.” The firearms, which were discovered disassembled along with used auto parts in a container at the Port of Savannah, had been obtained through straw purchases at various Atlanta-area sporting goods stores.

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Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.