A man was arrested at Kennedy International airport while smuggling uranium into the country in his shoes. The suspect, Patrick Campbell, was arrested by authorities on Wednesday after entering the country.
Campbell, 33, has been under US surveillance since May 2012 when he answered an advertisement to send 1,000 tons of uranium to Iran.
But the Sierra Leone-based man’s buyer wasn’t exactly who he expected, reports The New York Times. Instead of “an American broker representing the interests of individuals in Iran,” Campbell found an undercover agent for the Department of Homeland Security.
Campbell was arrested on charges of knowingly brokering goods destined for Iran. The 33-year-old had several communications with the undercover agent using the phone, Skype, and email. During that time, the suspect claimed to be linked with a company that sells uranium, gold, diamonds, and chromite in Africa.
The man claimed he could smuggle 1,000 tons of pure uranium to Iran. in order to avoid detection, the uranium would be hidden inside other ore, such as chromite. However, the agent was not able to help him with a visa and plane fare to the United States.
Not to be deterred, Campbell contacted the agent in August and claimed he would be on his way after some help from a friend on how to get uranium samples on to the plane. He was to meet the agent in Florida with the samples on Wednesday.
But it wasn’t meant to be — at least for Campbell. Instead of showing his supposed contact samples for a purity test, Yahoo! News notes that Patrick Campbell was arrested. According to the criminal complaint against him, Campbell was met at his gate by agents and promptly arrested.
Soon after, he acknowledged his role in the deal to sell uranium and “assisted agents in removing the uranium from beneath the inside soles of his shoes.” If convicted, the man who smuggled uranium in his shoes could face 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
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