PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A foreign national from the United Kingdom has pleaded guilty to federal charges after he attempted to smuggle a turbine engine to Iran.
A media release from the United States District Court Northern District of Florida says Colin Fisher, 45, admitted in court in Pensacola that from October 1, 2017, to August 7, 2020, he “worked to violate the Iranian embargo by attempting to export a Solar Mars 90 S turbine core engine and parts from the United States for delivery to an end user in Iran.”
Fisher was arrested by federal agents when he arrived in Pensacola from the United Arab Emirates earlier this month to complete the illegal transaction and get equipment for a buyer in Iran.
Prosecutors say these actions included participating in fraudulent invoicing and using coded language with conspirators to communicate about the illegal transactions.
Law enforcement discovered the plan and were able to seize the turbine before it made its way to a conspirator in Iran, who is linked to an Iranian energy company.
Prosecutors say the intercepted turbine could have been used to provide needed energy to the oil fields of Iran.
“Exporting technology to Iran is prohibited for a very good reason, yet this defendant chose to put his own self-interest above global and national security,” U.S. Attorney Keefe said in a media release. “This case should send a clear signal that the United States cannot and will not look the other way when persons endanger the safety of our nation and its people. We will enforce these laws, which are vital to our national security, against those both within the United States and abroad.”
The media release says James Meharg, CEO and president of Turbine Resources International, LLC, in Pensacola, was previously convicted of conspiring with Fisher “to export a large turbine and parts from the United States to an Iranian recipient in violation of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations.” Meharg is currently serving a 40-month sentence in federal prison.
Fisher could face 20 years in prison for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and up to 10 years imprisonment for attempted smuggling.
He will be sentenced Nov. 10 and the United States Courthouse in Pensacola.