Man admits trying to sell guns linked to Saddam Hussein

AP News
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Posted: Mar 25, 2015 3:57 PM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A man has admitted that he tried to sell firearms believed to have been owned by Saddam Hussein's family.

David Philip Ryan, who's from Miami, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiracy to transport stolen firearms. The 50-year-old faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he's sentenced in June.

Seven guns with an estimated value of $250,000 to $350,000 were seized in December 2012, federal prosecutors said. Among the firearms was a .357 semi-automatic pistol featuring a gold medallion saying "QS," presumed to indicate the late Iraqi president's son Qusay Saddam Hussein.

Other guns included two .357 Magnums, a .32-caliber semi-automatic pistol, two 12-gauge shotguns and a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol with gold leaf and gold inlays also bearing the initials "QS."

Qusay Saddam Hussein and his brother, Uday Saddam Hussein, were killed when U.S. forces stormed a villa in Mosul, Iraq, in 2003. Saddam Hussein, the shotgun-waving dictator who ruled Iraq for a quarter-century and was driven from power by a U.S.-led war that left his country in shambles, was executed in 2006.

The investigation into the gun plot began in April 2012, when federal law enforcement officers learned of plans to sell the weapons.

Two New Jersey men and a Pennsylvania man also have pleaded guilty to roles in the conspiracy. One of them, Howard Blumenthal, of Fort Lee, was given a $5,000 fine last December.

Prosecutors have said Blumenthal was recruited to help round up potential buyers for the smuggled guns. They say he went to a New Jersey restaurant in July 2012 to meet with three other people so they could discuss the sale of most of the weapons.

The two other defendants, Carlos Quirola-Ordonez, of New Milford, and Karlo Sauer, of Pittsburgh, are awaiting sentencing.