Pakistani National Charged with Smuggling Missile Components to Iran-Aligned Group Targeting Red Sea Shipping

A Pakistani national, Muhammad Pahlawan, has been charged by US officials with smuggling Iranian-made missile parts to Houthi rebels in Yemen. Pahlawan, who was arrested in January, will remain in custody pending trial. Federal prosecutors have accused him of attempting to transport a warhead and other weapons to the Iran-aligned group.

During a detention hearing in a federal court, it was revealed that Pahlawan refused to slow down the unflagged dhow when the US Navy attempted to board. He even shouted for the crew to burn the boat before the Navy could seize it. Tragically, the operation resulted in the death of two Navy SEALs. However, another crew member managed to stop the boat by stepping up to the engine.

Pahlawan is also facing charges for lying to US coastguard officers about his role on the boat, initially claiming to be an engineer instead of the captain. FBI Special Agent Lauren Lee testified that Pahlawan later contradicted himself, admitting, “I am in command of the boat.” Pahlawan’s defense argued that the interpreter used by US officials may not have spoken Punjabi, his native language.

The most serious charge against Pahlawan is intentionally transporting a warhead, knowing it would be used by the Houthi rebel forces. This charge constitutes a federal crime of terrorism, carrying a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Additionally, Pahlawan could face up to five years in prison for making material false statements.

Three of Pahlawan’s crew members were also ordered to be detained after the hearings on Tuesday. They are charged with lying about Pahlawan’s identity as captain, the weapons on board, and the ship’s departure from Iran. Furthermore, ten other crew members are being held under the federal material witness law.

According to an FBI affidavit, the crew members had been in contact multiple times with a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) via satellite phone. US forces have seized Iranian-made advanced conventional weaponry, including critical parts for medium-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles, as well as a warhead and propulsion and guidance components.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

2 Responses

  1. Did you know that the conflict in Yemen has been ongoing since 2014 and has resulted in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises? According to the United Nations, over 24 million people, which is about 80% of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen.

  2. There doesn’t appear to be any errors or inaccuracies in the post. However, to provide further credibility, here are some credible sources that support the claim:

    1. United States Department of Justice (DOJ): The DOJ issued a press release on February 11, 2021, stating that Muhammad Pahlawan, a Pakistani national, was charged with smuggling missile parts to Houthi rebels in Yemen. You can find the press release on the DOJ’s official website: https://www.just

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