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Man Convicted of Endangering the Safety of an Aircraft

SAN FRANCISCO—Hasan Ibrahim was convicted by a federal jury today of attempting to place destructive substances on an airplane, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

The jury found that the defendant willfully intended to place nine different hazardous materials on a Lufthansa passenger airplane bound for Frankfurt, Germany. The hazardous materials were ultimately destined for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In related charges, the jury convicted Ibrahim of failing to properly label the packages containing the hazardous materials and failing to complete the requisite shipping papers as required by the Department of Transportation. The guilty verdict followed a six-day jury trial before the Honorable Edward M. Chen, U.S. District Court Judge.

Evidence at trial established that Ibrahim, 62, of Los Gatos, California, doing business as MechChem Corporation, ordered and shipped hazardous materials for over 10 years. Many of the chemicals the defendant handled were flammable, corrosive, and highly toxic. As a result of their dangerous properties, many of the chemicals were forbidden by transport on a passenger airplane, and two chemicals in particular were forbidden by transport on any aircraft.

In all, the jury convicted Ibrahim of nine counts of attempting to place destructive substances on an aircraft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 32(a)(2); 10 counts of shipping hazardous materials without the proper shipping papers and without the proper labels, in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 5124(c) and (d); one count of failing to file required export information, in violation of 13 U.S.C. § 305(a)(1); and two counts of attempting to smuggle goods, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 554(a).

Ibrahim remains out of custody pending the sentencing hearing.

Ibrahim’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 9, 2013, before Judge Edward M. Chen in San Francisco. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of attempting to place a destructive substance on an airplane in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 32(a)(2) is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

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