Foreign National Arrested At Pensacola Airport Pleads Guilty To National Security Offenses

September 2, 2020

By: Staff Report

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – United States Attorney Lawrence Keefe, of the Northern District of Florida, today announced that Colin Fisher, a citizen of the United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) and attempted smuggling in relation to exporting power generating equipment to Iran. Fisher was arrested by federal agents when he arrived in Pensacola from the United Arab Emirates earlier this month to consummate the illegal transaction and get equipment for a buyer in Iran. 

Fisher, 45, admitted in United States District 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. This included participating in fraudulent invoicing and using coded language with conspirators to communicate about the illegal transactions. Despite these efforts, law enforcement authorities discovered the plan and were able to seize the turbine before its transatlantic journey to the end user in Iran, a conspirator in Iran who is linked to an Iranian energy company. The intercepted turbine, which was valued at half a million dollars, could be 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. “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.”

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.

 “The commitment of the Bureau of Industry and Security to protect our nation’s security against terrorist procurement networks in State Sponsors of Terrorism countries such as Iran remains unwavering,” said P. Lee Smith, Performing the Non-exclusive Functions and Duties of the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement in the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security. “These continued efforts to bring all conspirators to justice are demonstrated in this most recent guilty plea.”

Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg has prosecuted the case following a joint investigation by the United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Fisher faces up to 20 years imprisonment for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and up to 10 years imprisonment for attempted smuggling. A sentencing date has been set for November 10, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. at the United States Courthouse in Pensacola.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

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