A federal judge in Minneapolis on Monday sentenced a 55-year-old dual Lebanese and South African citizen to 42 months in federal prison for illegally sending drone parts overseas to aid Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist group based in Lebanon.
Usama Darwich Hamade was first charged under a sealed indictment in 2015, alongside his brother Issam Darwich Hamade and a third co-conspirator, Samir Ahmed Berro.
The case became public in 2018 when Interpol agents caught the Hamade brothers in South Africa. Berro, however, remains at large.
From 2009 to 2011, according to court filings, the three men conspired to send U.S. goods and technology to Lebanon without obtaining the necessary export licenses from the U.S. government. The men sourced drone materials from businesses from around the world, including digital compasses made by Honeywell in Minnesota.
Under Monday's sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge John Tunheim, Hamade will be immediately deported after serving his federal prison term in the U.S.
Tunheim sentenced Issam Darwich Hamade to time served in April. Prosecutors had described him as "substantially less culpable than his brother."
The case was investigated by the FBI, U.S. Department of Commerce's export enforcement office and Homeland Security Investigations.