A smuggling ring specializing in bringing Iranians into the U.S. over the Mexico border has been broken up in an FBI sting operation.
A 39-year-old Iranian with permanent legal residency status who is suspected of having smuggled 60 other Iranians into the U.S. was arrested Thursday in Mesa, Ariz., according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
At his arraignment yesterday, Zeayadali Malhamdary, who owns a tailoring business, pleaded not guilty. He faces a detention hearing tomorrow.
If convicted of the three attempted smuggling charges, Malhamdary could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the counts.
FBI officials said they had no reason to believe there were any terrorist connections to the case.