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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 9:45 p.m., Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Four jailed in alleged arms conspiracy

By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer

Four men charged in Hawai'i and Michigan of conspiring to purchase aircraft equipment and weapons and export them to an Indonesian company remained in federal custody here following their arrest Sunday after arriving in Honolulu last week.

The men are accused of trying to export not only the equipment and weapons from an unnamed U.S.-based company, but two also are charged with trying to get price quotes for Sidewinder missiles and aircraft ammunition.

"We consider this to be a serious and grave threat to our national security," U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy III of Detroit said today. "The agencies involved in the case worked hard to arrest individuals who were ready, willing and able to buy American weapons and take them outside the country."

U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo declined to talk about the case's details, such as who would ultimately get the equipment and weapons. He said the case is still under investigation.

But Kubo said the case did not involve any plot to use the weapons for terrorism.

The four include Hadianto Djoko Djuliarso, 41, of Indonesia, and Ibrahim Bin Amran, 46, of Singapore, who were charged last week in an indictment by a federal grand jury in Michigan. They are accused of conspiring to violate the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and to launder money.

The other two are Ignatius Ferdinandus Soeharli, also known as "Igna," and David Beecroft, who were charged here Monday with conspiring to violate the federal export law.

The conspiracy charge that they tried to purchase and export the items without a license by the Department of State carries a prison term of up to five years.

The Michigan indictment alleges a conspiracy involving an employee of a company owned by Djuliarso and Amran sending an e-mail in March last year to an unnamed company based in the United States seeking to purchase military aircraft parts for export to Indonesia.

At the time, Indonesia was under a U.S. embargo that prohibited exporting those items to that country, the indictment said.

In July last year, Amran also sent a message to the company asking for quotes for aircraft armaments that included 245 Sidewinder missiles and 5,000 rounds of strafing ammunition.

Djuliarso and Amran owned businesses that included Ataru Indonesia, which was identified as the company purchasing the items, according to the indictment. The two traveled to Michigan last year to meet representatives of a U.S. company, the indictment said.

The two men, as well as Soeharli and Beecroft, arrived here Friday to meet with representatives of the U.S. company, a federal agent's affidavit said. All four were arrested after meetings that included a viewing of samples of MP-5 machine guns and military aircraft parts, according to the affidavit.

Federal prosecutors here were preparing to transfer the case against Djuliarso and Amran to Michigan. A hearing on that request is scheduled for Thursday.

Defense lawyers either could not be reached for comment or said they could not say much about the case, although Amran's attorney Michael Park said his client will plead not guilty.

The Detroit Free Press contributed to this report. Reach Ken Kobayashi at kkobayashi @honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8030.