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California Man Convicted for Endangering Safety of Passenger Aircraft

On July 3, 2013, after a nearly two week trial, a jury in U.S. District Court, San Francisco, California, convicted Hasan Ibrahim, of Los Gatos, California, for attempting to place destructive substances on board an aircraft. The jury found Ibrahim, owner of Medchem, a South San Francisco, California, company, 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 addition, Ibrahim was convicted for transportation of hazardous materials without shipping papers and labels; failure to file export information; and attempted smuggling.

The investigation was initiated when OIG learned that Ibrahim attempted to ship 64 boxes of materials to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The shipment was detained and later seized by Customs and Border Protection. A review of the materials by the Federal Aivation Administration (FAA) determined that the shipment contained hazardous materials, including materials that were toxic, corrosive and flammable. Several of the hazardous materials were forbidden to be transported on passenger aircraft and two chemicals were forbidden to be transported on any aircraft.

We conducted this investigation jointly with the FBI, with assistance from the FAA.