MIAMI — Federal agents arrested a Sierra Leone man Wednesday for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by attempting to broker the sale of yellowcake uranium to Iran. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police.
According to court documents, Patrick Campbell, 33, of Freetown, Sierra Leone, traveled to the United States Aug. 21. Campbell brought a sample of uranium with him, which he concealed in the soles of shoes packed in his luggage. Campbell transported the uranium under the premise that it was going to be provided to a representative for a group of individuals seeking to obtain uranium and supply it to Iran. He was arrested by HSI special agents at John F. Kennedy Airport upon his arrival in the United States.
If convicted, Campbell faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and up to a $1 million fine.
Campbell made his initial appearance in federal court Thursday.
HSI aims to prevent terrorist groups and hostile nations from illegally obtaining U.S. military products and sensitive technology, including weapons of mass destruction. The Counter-Proliferation Investigations Unit, part of the HSI National Security Investigations Division, oversees a broad range of investigations related to export law violations. It enforces U.S. export laws involving military items and controlled dual-use goods, as well as products going to sanctioned or embargoed countries.