The U.S Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that two Ohio men have been charged by the FBI for smuggling weapons from Cleveland to Lebanon.
Formerly from North Olmsted, 47-year-old George Nakhle Ajaltouni, and 48-year-old Jean Youssef Issa from Batroun, have been “charged for their roles in a scheme to smuggle and illegally ship firearms from Cleveland to Lebanon.”
According to the Department of Justice’s statement, Ajaltouni and Issa smuggled hundreds of guns from Cleveland, from May 2011 to September 2014, to Lebanon to be resold.
The indictment states that Ajaltouni allegedly purchased guns through private sellers, federal firearms dealers, and gun shows. He and Issa would then smuggle them into Lebanon using cars transported by sea.
Issa has been arrested due to a Red Notice issued by Interpol.
Aside from smuggling, Ajaltouni has also been charged with “naturalization fraud after obtaining naturalization and citizenship in 2009 that he was not entitled to nor eligible to receive.”
Ajaltouni has also been associated with 51-year-old Nakhle “Mike” Nader, formerly of Cleveland, who has been charged with 4 counts of income tax evasion.
The FBI is looking for information on the whereabouts of Ajaltouni and Nader. They are believed to be currently residing in Batroun.
“The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” stated the Department of Justice.