Federal authorities are offering up to $3 million for help arresting an Iranian national who has been on the run for eight years since an indictment accused him of illegally procuring technology from Minnesota that was fashioned into roadside bombs used to target U.S. military personnel in Iraq.
The FBI in Minneapolis announced the reward, being offered by the U.S. State Department, on Tuesday. Agents have sought Hossein Ahmad Larijani, 55, since his 2010 indictment by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., on multiple charges related to the shipment of radio transceiver modules made in Minnesota. Larijani is believed to be living in Tehran, the FBI said this week.
According to charges, Larijani relied on companies in Singapore and Iran, and several co-conspirators, to illegally send about 6,000 of the Minnesota company's devices to Iran.
Referred to only as Company A in court documents, the Minnesota firm thought it was sending the devices to Singapore to be used in a "local telecommunications project." Instead, authorities said, the products were illegally transshipped to Iran and later used to make remote detonation systems for improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
According to a 49-page indictment in the case, IEDs caused about 60 percent of all American combat deaths in Iraq between 2001 and 2007 and were the top threat to troops in Iraq. Between 2008 and 2009, U.S. and coalition armed forces retrieved numerous remote detonation systems in Iraq that had been assembled using the modules shipped from Minnesota.
The company's modules had encryption capabilities and the ability to transmit data wirelessly from as far away as 40 miles, according to charges.
"In addition to commercial uses, these same modules have other lethal and destructive applications," the indictment said.
Three other co-conspirators have since been arrested and extradited to the U.S., where they completed federal prison sentences and were deported back to Singapore. One other co-conspirator remains at large in Singapore, the FBI said.
The FBI this week described Larijani as an "international flight risk" and is asking anyone with information to call the bureau's toll-free tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.