Los Angeles News
Contractor accused of trying to ship sensitive F-35 files to Iran
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- An investigation is underway into an alleged espionage plot to smuggle a massive amount of documents on one of America's most advanced fighter planes.
Mozaffar Khazaee, also known as Arash Khazaie, was indicted in Connecticut on two counts of interstate transportation of stolen property through the Port of Long Beach. The indictment was unsealed Wednesday.
Khazaee, 59, is accused of sending a truck from Connecticut containing sensitive military information to the port of Long Beach for freight shipment to Iran.
Federal law enforcement began investigating Khazee in November 2013 after the shipment was inspected en route to the city of Hamadan in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The shipment's documentation indicated it contained books, suitcases and a vacuum cleaner; Customs and Border Patrol and Homeland Security investigators instead found 44 boxes of documents with sensitive technical manuals, spec sheets and other US Air Force proprietary material relating to the F35 Joint Strike Fighter program and military jet engines, according to the indictment.
The F35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive defense program in history, costing close to $400 billion.
Khazaee holds dual Iranian and American citizenship and has worked as recently as August 2013 as an engineer for defense contractors.
Khazaee was arrested this month at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey en route to Tehran. If convicted, he faces 20 years behind bars.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
arrest, long beach, iran, los angeles news, elex michaelson
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